“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” Ronald Reagan declared in his first inaugural address. The movement had its marching orders and set off double time. By the end of the Reagan years, Rush Limbaugh had arrived to bring the message daily into millions of households across the country. It was a Two Minutes Hate that lasted for hours. By the mid-nineties it was, “America Held Hostage: Day (Number of days in Clinton’s term).” Government is the problem. Government cannot be trusted. Put us Republicans in charge and we’ll prove it. They did.
The New Hampshire primary is underway. They have already hand counted the nine paper ballots in Dixville Notch. And it seems as if Paul Krugman will be tweeting the New Hampshire primary. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, but as with significance of the Dixville totals, it escapes me. Bernie Sanders jumped out to an early lead. Surprised?
For Republicans, New Hamphire is a race for second place.
Charles Blow this morning notes a key difference between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns. Sanders has energized younger voters while at a Clinton event Blow attended in New Hampshire there were “more heads of white hair in that room than a jar of cotton balls.” The problem with Clinton and younger voters is, as someone on social media commented, “Clinton is running an I-Have-Half-A-Dream campaign.” Blow writes:
Young folks are facing a warming planet, exploding student debt, stunted mobility, stagnant wages and the increasing corporatization of the country due in part to the increasing consolidation of wealth and the impact of that wealth on American institutions.
Young folks are staring down a barrel and they want to put a flower in it, or conversely, smash it to bits. And they’re angry at those who came before them for doing too little, too late. They want a dramatic correction, and they want it now.
Even if it is nailed down, the Midas Cult will try to take it. Or privatize it where it sits. It’s never about serving the public. It’s always about the money. During Saturday’s Republican debate, they argued about eminent domain because in New England they haven’t forgotten the Kelo decision: eminent domain used to further private profits.
The #FlintWaterCrisis originated in Detroit in 2014, I believe, when Gov. Rick Snyder’s emergency manager proposed putting the publicly owned water and sewer systems either up for sale or transferring control of it to a for-profit company:
Orr said last week at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference that he’s in talks with at least two of the largest U.S. private companies that operate water systems and has taken bids from them to manage Detroit’s sprawling water and sewer system that serves more than 4 million people in southeast Michigan.
Messing with Flint’s water and poisoning residents came later. Elsewhere there were the parking meters, highways … hell, they’ll even buy a bridge in Manhattan and sell it back to us. As I wrote before that:
As Marco Rubio’s campaign collapsed on live TV, a long ride home from a meeting kept us from watching the Republican debate, but the Twitter feed kept us in stitches. This in particular:
There was plenty of hilarity, but besides the self-inflicted wounds, Rubio was a punching bag last night.
"We're not going to let people die sitting in the middle of the street." — @realDonaldTrump making his most controversial remark yet
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 7, 2016
Not exactly a big hand for the idea of saving people dying on the street.
— Frank Rich (@frankrichny) February 7, 2016
Folks, this is your captain speaking. It looks like we’ve hit some unexpected turbulence and I’m going to turn on that seatbelt sign “DIIIIIING.” Flight attenands please return to your seats. As soon as it smoothes out, we’ll continue our service.
North Carolina last night hit a patch of turbulence in the form of a federal court ruling. This was still breaking last night (emphasis mine):
RALEIGH, N.C. — Three federal judges on Friday threw out the congressional voting maps the Republican-led General Assembly drew five years ago, ruling that two districts were gerrymandered along racial lines.
The ruling throws the March 15 primary into chaos, as the judges ordered state lawmakers to redraw the maps within two weeks and not to hold any elections for U.S. House until the maps are in place. A special session of the legislature would have to be called to approve new maps, and they might have to pass federal muster again.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren brushed off liberal efforts last year to get her to run for president in 2016. It is not hard to guess why. For one, she is smart enough to know that at this point she lacks the depth — especially in foreign policy — to do the job well. (After a quarter century in Congress, Bernie Sanders struggled with foreign policy in the Democratic debate last night.) Second, if she stays in the Senate, Warren can be a thorn in the side of all the right people as an advocate for working Americans for a couple of decades. It’s what she does. She’s very good at it. And it’s fun watching Elizabeth Warren do what she is so good at.
In an interview with The Nation, Warren spoke again about the “rigged game” in Washington. In particular, the bipartisan effort to reform sentencing laws that some Republicans are using the bill as a means of protecting corporate criminals from even the nearly nonexistent prosecutions to which they are now exposed. On the floor of the Senate, Warren said,
[F]or these Republicans, the price of helping out people unjustly locked up in jail for years will be to make it even harder to lock up a white-collar criminal for even a single day. That is shameful, shameful. It’s shameful because we’re already way too easy on corporate lawbreakers.
The Clinton and Sanders campaigns (Bernie and Hillary) have already shifted their focus to New Hampshire next Tuesday, and South Carolina beyond that. As they must. They need 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. Anyone want to argue over coin flips that might or might not have changed 2 or 3 delegates in Iowa? Have at it.
WASHINGTON — Government officials tangled on Wednesday over who was to blame for the crisis in Flint, Michigan, that allowed lead-contaminated water to flow to thousands of residents at a combative congressional hearing that devolved into a partisan fight over witnesses and no-shows.
“A failure of epic proportions,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the first Capitol Hill hearing since the crisis in Flint emerged last year.
Flint’s former state-appointed emergency manager, Darnell Earley, was a no show. He refused a federal subpoena claiming there was too short a notice for him to appear in Washington. The Detroit Free Press reports:
Thank you. Thank you.