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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Amanda Marcotte: Trump isn’t the reason we can’t quit Trump — the obsession is really about his followers

Trump may believe otherwise, but he’s a huge bore. His followers’ unbreakable loyalty is what’s so fascinating

Are we addicted to Donald Trump? It’s a question that’s haunting journalists and political commentators, most of whom hate Trump but cannot deny that his name drives traffic and ratings. Even though Trump lost the election and Joe Biden will be the next president, Trump continues to be the big attention draw for political websites and cable news networks. [..]

Because of all this, it’s become quite fashionable in some circles to haughtily declare that all this interest is tawdry, and that if we simply ignored Trump, he would go away. Hardly a week goes by on social media where I don’t get some reader who, sick of it all, will lash out at me personally and demand that I stop writing about, tweeting about or otherwise giving attention to Trump.

But the command to ignore him didn’t make the bully disappear in junior high school and it certainly doesn’t work with the president. Nor can Trump’s importance in our politics be easily reduced to a pop psychology assumption that all fascination is inherently addiction and therefore bad.

The reality is that the Trump obsession isn’t really about Trump himself anyway. It’s about his followers.

Heather Digby Parton: Trump’s bizarre Georgia play: He wants to show Republicans he’s still the boss

Georgia Republicans have descended into backstabbing, with the Senate on the line. Trump probably likes it that way

Attacking Republican officials who fail to toe the line is comfortably familiar to GOP base voters. (Just ask former House Speaker Paul Ryan.) They’ve been ruthlessly culling their herd this way for a couple of decades now, and are always eager to show their power.

Across social media, Trump followers are calling for Loeffler and Perdue to step in and demand that the state’s presidential vote be audited yet again, with all signatures checked on absentee ballots. As mentioned above, there has already been a hand count, and a machine recount is now underway. Rechecking signatures is literally impossible, since signed envelopes were already checked and separated from the ballots in order to protect the secrecy of the vote. Right-wing Georgia attorney Lin Wood (who is also representing Kenosha vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse) is one of those leading the charge with threats to withhold his vote if the two Senate candidates fail to take action: [..]

He has not backed off even in light of Powell’s removal, and he’s not alone. The Daily Beast reports that a couple of shady groups affiliated with Roger Stone are involved as well, encouraging voters to write in Trump’s name in the Senate races to show the RINOs who’s boss. A lawyer for one of these groups admits that Stone is a client but denies knowing anything about it. (We know Stone would never be involved in any sort of dirty tricks, so that’s that. )

Karen Tumulty: Biden’s team could give Americans a reason to believe in government again

As impressive as the historical nature of Biden’s nominations are the credentials that all of them bring to their jobs.

While the current president continues to deny the clear result of the election, the incoming one is well along in putting together an administration that is both barrier-breaking and reassuringly conventional.

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled his picks for a national security team that, if confirmed by the Senate, will include Avril Haines, the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence, and Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban-born Latino, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that oversees border control and immigration policies.

Former Federal Reserve chair Janet L. Yellen, his choice for treasury secretary, would also be the first woman to hold that post.

But as impressive as the historical nature of their nominations are the credentials that all of them bring to their jobs. Without exception, Biden has thus far named people who have deep experience both in the subject matter they will be dealing with and in the workings of government.

Catherine Rampell: Janet Yellen is the treasury secretary we need right now

The former Federal Reserve chair has the right talents, temperament, experience and — perhaps most important — values.

Like other Biden administration officials already named, the president-elect’s latest reported Cabinet pick exemplifies what Americans asked for when they cast ballots this month: a person with authority, placed back into a position of authority.

Former Federal Reserve chair Janet L. Yellen is incomparably qualified to serve as the next treasury secretary.

A former economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Yellen is a brilliant researcher, adept at formulating complicated models and synthesizing large quantities of data. She communicates clearly and effectively, a skill necessary for calming markets. And on a more humanistic level, she thinks rigorously about the values a society should pursue, its practical interest in pursuing those values, and what economic tools are most effective for achieving them.

In other words, she is exactly who we want leading the United States through this immediate economic crisis and strategizing ways to address the country’s more chronic challenges.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Time for Democrats to drain the real swamp

Trump’s kleptocracy cannot continue.

Even in defeat, President Trump’s villainies command the spotlight. Speculation is rife over whether the Biden administration or the various state and local criminal investigations in New York will lead to prosecutions of Trump himself on everything from campaign finance violations (the alleged bribes to his mistresses to keep silent about Trump’s dalliances with them in 2016) to tax fraud to obstruction of justice. President-elect Joe Biden has stated that “this is the time to heal,” suggesting that he’ll leave the pursuit of Trump to others. But for the country to heal, one critical remedy is to rebuild trust in government and pride in public service. And that will require putting the spotlight on how the Trump administration systematically traduced our government.

Trump has run what essentially has been a shameless kleptocracy; without question it is one of the most corrupt administrations in history. His own self-enrichment is notorious. He staffed regulatory agencies and departments with lobbyists and executives from special interests that they were tasked to regulate: a coal industry lobbyist to protect air and water, an oil lobbyist at the Interior Department, a Raytheon lobbyist at the Defense Department and so on.