Daily Clips: November 23rd, 2015

Cartoon of the day: It appears that another war in the Middle East is on the horizon. Let’s face it, folks, we are a people that love operating in a world of black and white. Every ten years or so, we identify an “evil” (be that terrorism or communism) and then begin to whip up raw, fearful emotions in our people.

After the Iraq War debacle, perhaps America feels an overwhelmingly sense of contrition and wants to right this terrible wrong. If that is the case, John Adams presciently noted our national psyche: “Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.”

Hillary’s pledge to not raise middle-class taxes is bad news for progressive politics: This lurch to the right has come as no surprise to many progressives. Yglesias points out that disavowing middle-class tax increases has become like “a formal Grover Norquist–style pledge” in the Democratic party. He warns that this pledge is “destructive of the long-term possibilities of progressive governance.”

I couldn’t agree more. Clearly, the wealthy have to pay the most taxes – both by relative and absolute terms. However, in order to fund bold programs, every single American must share some of the burden. To say otherwise is to live in a political fantasy world. It’s disingenuous and it comes across as pandering.

Furthermore, Clinton and Obama’s refusal to increase the taxes of the middle class “speaks to a profound problem in the larger liberal project.” Pledging “that the 1 percent will pay for everything reflects a fairly shallow solution.” More than that, it represents a misdiagnosis of how to deal with income inequality.

It’s beginning to feel like 2002 all over again: So says Paul Waldman, who laments the parallels between the Paris attacks and 9/11.

To be clear, I’m not arguing that heightened fears of ISIS will sweep the Republicans into the White House next year; there’s lots of time between now and then, and other issues will grab the electorate’s attention. The American public and its political elite may not have taken leave of their senses to quite the degree they did in the months and years after September 11, when no restriction on individual liberty went far enough, no expansion of government power was too much, and invading a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on us seemed like the perfect way to handle our fear and anger. But the increasingly ugly atmosphere is beginning to feel awfully familiar.

Americans fear gun violence over terrorism by large margin. Voters nearly two times more concerned about being a victim of gun violence than terrorism. Interesting.

Nick Cassella

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