There has been an avalanche of commentary on the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump reflecting a range of differing views. Hence, there seems to be little need for extensive analysis here, but we cannot resist making a few observations. In general, we agree with the media consensus: that Clinton outpointed Trump, in substance and demeanor, but failed to land any “knockout” punches. Indeed, it is hard to imagine what it would take, given the peculiar support Trump enjoys, to constitute a knockout. […]
Like the media in general, we are guilty of giving more time and space to commenting on Donald Trump than he deserves or we would wish. Nevertheless, we believe that the possibility of his election is such a grave threat that it cannot be ignored. So we will continue to try to puzzle out what he is up to and what it may amount to. Since our last blog, significant events have included Trump’s speech on economic policy, as well as some peculiar and offensive comments on the Second Amendment and ISIS. […]
History may record various casualties of the 2016 presidential campaign and, indeed, the very existence of the Republican Party may prove to be the most important. A lesser but still highly significant casualty may be our policy favoring free trade agreements in general and, specifically, approval of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. […]
On Monday, Jeb Bush made the long-awaited announcement that he is a candidate for President. As a matter of style, we thought it deserved an “A.” Bush spoke from a Miami college gymnasium before a crowd described by The Washington Post as a “diverse tableau at a boisterous rally.” He appeared relaxed, energetic and optimistic, the sort of joyful campaigner that he had promised to be but that had not been clearly in evidence in recent months. Toward the end of his speech, Bush turned for several moments to fluent Spanish, demonstrating that he has both the determination and the capacity to seek the increasingly important Hispanic vote. […]
It is still early days, but there are some encouraging signs that Republican leaders in the Senate and House have found the ability to get things done—actually legislate—despite Democratic opposition and the Oozlums of the right gnawing at their ankles.
The first major milestone came two months ago when Republicans abandoned the quixotic attempt to block the President’s executive actions with respect to immigration. While we had disapproved of those actions, the response of holding up funding for Homeland Security seemed to us to make as much sense as treating a toothache by hitting yourself on the head with a hammer. […]
Current debate over trade policy revolves around two confusingly similar acronyms: TPP and TPA. The first, TPP, refers to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement among 12 Pacific nations. The second, TPA, refers to Trade Promotion Authority, (sometimes known as “Fast Track”), which provides for expedited consideration of trade agreements by Congress. The two are closely linked because, in the view of many observers, passage of TPA will be essential to concluding and ratifying the TPP agreement. Together, the TPP and TPA provide an interesting mix of policy and politics. […]