Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

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Hillary Clinton: Mueller documented a serious crime against all Americans. Here’s how to respond.

Our election was corrupted, our democracy assaulted, our sovereignty and security violated. This is the definitive conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report. It documents a serious crime against the American people.

The debate about how to respond to Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack — and how to hold President Trump accountable for obstructing the investigation and possibly breaking the law — has been reduced to a false choice: immediate impeachment or nothing. History suggests there’s a better way to think about the choices ahead.

Obviously, this is personal for me, and some may say I’m not the right messenger. But my perspective is not just that of a former candidate and target of the Russian plot. I am also a former senator and secretary of state who served during much of Vladi­mir Putin’s ascent, sat across the table from him and knows firsthand that he seeks to weaken our country.

I am also someone who, by a strange twist of fate, was a young staff attorney on the House Judiciary Committee’s Watergate impeachment inquiry in 1974, as well as first lady during the impeachment process that began in 1998. And I was a senator for New York after 9/11, when Congress had to respond to an attack on our country. Each of these experiences offers important lessons for how we should proceed today.

Paul Krugman: Survival of the Wrongest

Evidence has a well-known liberal bias.

Evidence has a well-known liberal bias. And that, presumably, is why conservatives prefer “experts” who not only consistently get things wrong, but refuse to admit or learn from their mistakes.

There has been a lot of commentary about Stephen Moore, the man Donald Trump wants to put on the Fed’s Board of Governors. It turns out that he has a lot of personal baggage: He was held in contempt of court for failing to pay alimony and child support, and his past writings show an extraordinary degree of misogyny. He misstates facts so much that one newspaper editor vowed never to publish him again, and he has ben caught outright lying about his past support for a gold standard. Oh, and he has described the cities of the U.S. heartland as “armpits of America.”

But it’s also important to put Moore in context. Until he decided that the Fed should roll those printing presses to help Trump, he was part of a fairly broad group that advocated tight money in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. This group bitterly criticized both the Fed’s low interest rates and its efforts to boost the economy by buying bonds, so-called “quantitative easing.” Its members warned that these policies would lead to runaway inflation, and seized on a rise in commodity prices in 2011-12 as the harbinger of an inflationary surge.

Michelle Cottle: Meet the Press? Don’t Bother

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, nominally the White House press secretary, has abandoned the custom of briefing the news media.

Tuesday saw yet another record broken by the Trump White House: the longest run without an official news media briefing.

At 43 days and counting, this information drought supplants the previous record of 42 days without a briefing, set in March — which broke the 41-day record set in January.

At some point, one cannot help but wonder: What is the job of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who holds the title of White House press secretary?

Conducting daily briefings was once a core function of the press secretary. The White House put its spin on the news of the day; reporters pushed for more information or clarification. Somewhere in all the give-and-take, the public interest was served.

Under President Trump, such sessions have all but vanished. Since the first of the year, Ms. Sanders has held two formal briefings. She has also developed a frustrating reputation for not responding to media inquiries in general.

This presumably pleases her boss. Mr. Trump prefers to broadcast to the public from the safety of Twitter, where truth and accountability are not held at a premium. In January, he even directed Ms. Sanders (in a tweet) “not to bother” with briefings anymore. Is a White House press secretary unwilling to interact with the press earning her taxpayer-funded salary?

In Ms. Sanders’s case, the growing lack of access is arguably less troubling than the lack of credibility — a problem highlighted in last Thursday’s release of the Mueller report.

Thomas B. Edall: Bernie Sanders Scares a Lot of People, and Quite a Few of Them Are Democrats

What happens if he’s the nominee in 2020?

In 34 national surveys conducted from October 2018 to early April, Joe Biden, who is expected to announce his presidential bid on Thursday, led of all competitors.

Then, in an Emerson College poll conducted two weeks ago, Bernie Sanders, a candidate with substantial liabilities as well as marked strengths, pulled ahead of Biden for the first time, 29-24 percent.

Sanders is also doing well in Iowa and New Hampshire, sites of the first caucus and primary.

One consequence of these developments is summed up in the headline of my colleague Jonathan Martin’s April 15 story, “‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum.”

In this light, I asked a group of Democratic and liberal-leaning consultants, pollsters, economists and political scientists what the likelihood of a Sanders’ nomination was, what his prospects would be in the general election, and how Democratic House and Senate candidates might fare with Sanders at the top of the ticket. When necessary, I offered them the opportunity to speak on background — with no direct attribution — to encourage forthcoming responses.

The answers I got from Democrats who make their living in politics revealed considerable wariness toward Sanders — the response many Sanders supporters would expect. [..]

Democratic primaries, as I mentioned earlier, are hardly a proving ground for how well a democratic socialist — and a self-declared social and cultural outsider — will sell in November, something Trump and the Republican Party are already gearing up to turn into a major 2020 issue.

The question extends beyond Sanders. Democratic constituencies competing to pick a candidate to square off against Trump next year face a difficult-to-resolve problem. Will they find themselves flying blind, entangled in a cause more than a campaign as they leave too much of the middle-of-the-road electorate behind?

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Will Trump and the Supreme Court tear our democracy apart?

2020 Census and thus representation in Congress to benefit the party that placed them on the court.

Trump’s brazen attacks on U.S. institutions and the court’s partisanship are not separate stories. They are the product of a radicalization of American conservatism. Republicans and conservative ideologues — including the ones wearing the robes of justice — are destabilizing our institutions in pursuit of power.

The apparent willingness of the court’s five conservatives to go along with the Trump administration on the census is of a piece with earlier rulings gutting the Voting Rights Act and increasing the power of big money in politics. All tilt the workings of our democratic republic in favor of conservative candidates, conservative causes and the appointment of conservative judges just like them.