Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media 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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Paul Krugman: The Very Strong Case for Bidenomics

The former vice president’s tax and spending claims are credible; Trump’s aren’t.

Thanks to Donald Trump’s shouting and nonstop lying, there wasn’t much of a substantive policy discussion at the debate on Tuesday.

But there were some broad — and unsurprisingly, false — assertions about economic policy. Joe Biden claimed that his tax and spending plans would create millions of jobs and promote economic growth. Trump claimed that they would destroy the economy.

Well, everything we know suggests that Biden was right and Trump wrong. And I’m not the only one saying this. Nonpartisan analysts like Moody’s Analytics and the not-exactly-socialist economists at Goldman Sachs are remarkably high on Biden’s proposals. [..]

But if you’re trying to assess the candidates’ economic claims, you should know that Trump’s predictions of a Biden bust lack credibility, not just because Trump lies about everything, but because Republicans always predict disaster from progressive policy, and have never yet been right.

And you should also know that Biden’s assertions that his plan would give the economy a significant boost are well grounded in mainstream economics and supported by independent, nonpartisan analyses.

So Biden’s economic claims are, in fact, credible; Trump’s aren’t.

Amanda Marcotte: Trump has COVID-19: More evidence that he’s always put his ego ahead of public health

Relax — Donny SuperSpreader can’t benefit from catching a virus he has claimed affects “virtually nobody”

Did you know that Donald Trump needs to wear reading glasses?

It’s reasonable that you might not know that. The president, who may have both the biggest and most fragile ego on the planet, goes to great pains to hide the fact that, like most people over 70, he can’t read printed text without a little magnification. But there’s proof, in the form of a video deposition in the Trump University fraud case that the folks at Mother Jones got their hands on recently.

To be clear, Mother Jones reporter David Corn takes the high road in his story, focusing on the facts of the case without even mentioning that Trump must put on his glasses to read the legal documents. I am not so noble. It’s just more proof that Trump, who loves to rant in disconcertingly fascistic fashion about his “good genes,” is obsessed with presenting himself as some kind of Übermensch who is untouched by the biological realities of aging, even those that people can see with their own two eyes. He has made his doctor deny that he’s fat. He has denied having “mini-strokes” — which was very strange, because no one had said he did. He spends an ungodly amount of time and money on that elaborate combover to make it look like he’s not balding.

Now the phony Übermensch has COVID-19. While we can expect Trump will do his level best to hide any symptoms, he can no longer pretend that he’s somehow above ordinary human weaknesses, such as catching a highly contagious disease.

Trump’s ego, coupled with his disgust for any kind of physical fragility — this is the man who sneered about wounded war veterans that “nobody wants to see that” — has been a major reason that the coronavirus pandemic spiraled out of control in this country.

Heather Digby Parton: Trump’s diagnosis could change everything — but GOP still scheming to suppress vote

With Trump in quarantine and his campaign suspended, don’t think Republicans are dropping their nefarious schemes

Leave it to Donald Trump to test positive for COVID-19 just two days after a disastrous debate performance. It’s tempting to think this is yet another of his reality show stunts, but it’s hard to believe that he could get away with faking something like this considering that the Trump White House leaks like a sieve. It’s more likely he does have the virus and his best-case scenario will be that he’s one of the lucky asymptomatic cases and can spend the rest of the campaign testifying to his youthfulness and strength, no doubt attributable to “good genes.”

As the man himself says, “We’ll see what happens.”

Meanwhile, there’s still a lot going on that requires some sustained attention from the American people, none more important than the ongoing threat that the election, now just a month away, is going to be sabotaged. I don’t use that word lightly. It is becoming very obvious that this is being planned and will be implemented in an attempt to ensure that Trump cannot lose.

In fact, according to some incredible reporting by Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times Magazine, Republican operatives were locked and loaded back in 2016, but just didn’t need to pull the trigger. They had lawyers at the ready to contest the election on the basis of “voter fraud” in all those close states if it had gone the other way.

Rutenberg’s story makes the often-overlooked point that this is not really a Trump operation. Sure, he said back in 2016 that he wouldn’t accept the results unless he won and this time he’s telling his voters that the only way he can lose is if the vote is rigged. But this isn’t his idea. He’s just the first Republican to crudely telegraph the plan ahead of time.

David cay Johnston: Here’s why we should hope Trump survives his fight with COVID-19

Donald Trump’s late night tweet that he and his wife have contracted COVID brings to mind the word “hope” in four ways, all of them tests of the character of Americans.

First, we should hope he is telling the truth. Trump lies so often and easily that this could just be an excuse to hide from further debates with Joe Biden.

If it seems hard to imagine that Trump would lie about the pernicious virus that has killed more than 208,000 Americans just think about the more than 20,000 lies he has told since becoming our president. Sadly, Donald can never be trusted.

Second, we should hope that Trump and his much younger wife recover fully and are healthy again well before Nov. 3. America needs a clean referendum on Trump’s presidency, not a vote about an ailing or even dead man.

Trump will lose the popular vote by at least 16 million ballots, hopefully by more than 20 million. Our democracy needs an unambiguous rejection of Trump. And voters need to disentangle themselves from his smack of moral jellyfish — the blind, spineless Republicans who abandoned principle and their oath to defend our Constitution to toss themselves into his waves of political chaos.

Paul Waldman: Trump thought he could beat the virus with spin. That’s why he’s now infected.

“I think masks are okay,” President Trump said at the debate on Tuesday, but emphasized that Joe Biden was going too far with mask-wearing. “I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Trump’s point was that Biden wears a mask even when it might not be completely necessary, and that such caution is essentially performative and thus should be regarded with contempt. In other words, Biden is just doing it for show.

But with Trump now testing positive for the novel coronavirus (along with his wife, the chair of the Republican Party and who knows how many others in and around the White House) the full consequences of his double failure on the pandemic are becoming clear. And ironically — since this is a president who cares about the show above all — it’s his messaging that has caused the most damage. Even to himself. [..]

That covid came to the Oval Office is not at all a surprise. In fact, it might have been inevitable. Trump was so worried about how the politics of the pandemic would affect him that he opened the door for the virus itself to spread. And like the rest of us, he’s facing the consequence.