Writers on the Right and Left React to the Senate Health Care Bill and Trump’s Cuba Policy
Read about how the other side thinks: perspectives from across the political spectrum on the week in Washington.
The political news cycle is fast, and keeping up can be overwhelming. Trying to find differing perspectives worth your time is even harder. That’s why we have scoured the internet for political writing from the right and left that you might not have seen.
Has this series exposed you to new ideas?
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From the Right
“Violence is the opposite of communication; it is, in fact, an expression of the belief that communication is impossible. So responding to violence by calling for self-censorship has it precisely backward.”
Heated political rhetoric has nothing to do with the shooting in Alexandria, Va., this week, writes Mr. Millman. What our “acute politico-tribal polarization” does lead to, at least partially, is the impulse to politicize such tragedies, he says. He goes on to argue that we should self-censor for fear that someone will take our words the wrong way, and that we should speak “as if we know those who disagree with us, even fervently, are also listening” — a sentiment that readers of this series on partisan writing should find familiar. Read more »
“Freedom, as they say, is not free, and this is one of its unfortunate costs.”
Mr. Tracinski writes admiringly of Representative Mo Brooks’s defense of Second Amendment rights “just hours after he was literally under fire.” Deep down, Mr. Tracinski says, Mr. Brooks, Republican of Alabama, understands that freedom means recognizing people’s rights “even when some of the consequences might be bad.” Read more »
“One thing is becoming clear: Republicans have already given up on fulfilling their seven-year promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
The secrecy behind the Senate health care bill has columnists from both sides of the aisle less than pleased. Here, Mr. Klein warns that the Senate bill is likely to retain even more elements of the Affordable Care Act than the House version, leading to a “RINOcare” solution, or, as he explains, “repeal in name only.” He calls for the details of the bill to be released and debated, lest a “poorly-designed bill” come to misrepresent “free market solutions” and hasten the implementation of a single-payer system. Read more »
“The investigation’s not over until it’s over, and Trump’s risk remains until the investigation ends.”
Mr. French doesn’t believe that President Trump obstructed justice when he fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey. However, he admits that his beliefs are “based on partial information — on only those facts that are in the public domain.” Even if there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Mr. French notes, Mr. Trump can “ultimately destroy his own presidency.” His fate is based not only on his conduct in the past, but on his behavior going forward. Read more »
“We are cultivating a generation of young people to reject free speech as an important value.”
Commentary asked 27 writers, academics and thinkers to answer the question: Is free speech under threat in America? The magazine listed all the answers in alphabetical order, starting with the prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams. Read more »
From the Left
“Carried out under the unlikely banner, for Trump, of human rights and democracy, the shift is instead more likely to re-impose hardships on ordinary Cubans.”
Any policy that impedes travel to Cuba, Ms. Pensack writes, will necessarily harm the people of the country. She argues that the decision by the Trump administration to reverse President Barack Obama’s engagement with Cuba is less about protecting human rights than it is about political expediency. Read more »
“There’s no indication Republicans are thinking deeply about free market reforms to the American health care system. But let’s just say they are. [...] If that’s the case, then Republicans owe the country both honesty and transparency. It will get neither.”
According to Mr. Bouie, the reason Senate Republicans have not released the details of their health care bill is because they want to hide the fact that it’s “little more than a massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.” He argues that this “cowardly and factional governing” will harm the GOP in the 2018 elections and that many Americans will suffer. Read more »
“At a time when America’s president, with widespread Republican support, dehumanizes some of the most vulnerable people in the country, how do progressives express their moral fury without embracing a dehumanizing language of their own?”
Mr. Beinart points to academic studies that showed that “that violent and dehumanizing political rhetoric can increase support for violence among people already predisposed to aggression.” In the wake of the Virginia shooting, the challenge before liberals, he writes, is to figure out a way to articulate legitimate political grievances without resorting to problematic language. Read more »
“When it comes to inciting violence, the person on whom the media and politicians should be focusing is not Bernie Sanders but Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.”
James Hodgkinson, the Virginia shooter, should not be considered a typical supporter of Bernie Sanders, writes Mr. Drieier, who takes issue with comments from Newt Gingrich and an article about Mr. Sanders’s fans in The New York Times. He argues that the shooting should shine a light on the silence of the N.R.A., and its advocacy for lax gun laws. Read more »
And Finally, From the Center:
• The Editorial Board in The Miami Herald:
“President Trump is basically following Cuban dissidents’ lead, including those who supported Obama’s opening to their country.”
The Miami Herald praises the president’s policy on Cuba, writing that the new rules are “designed to exert more pressure on Havana to reform itself.” And while the editorial board applauds the decision to bar American citizens from doing business with the Cuban military, they are “less enamored” with the travel restrictions placed on American tourists seeking to visit the country. Finally, they urge diplomacy to continue: “Now that the two countries are talking, this is no time to stop.” Read more »
“Moments like these are never-ending Rorschach tests for whoever is consuming the news.”
Mr. Barkan is not optimistic that partisans on either side of the aisle will learn much, modulate their rhetoric, or change their behavior in the wake of the shooting in Virginia. Read more »
“If Democratic and Republican presidents have embraced the same principles, it’s an excellent idea to take them seriously.”
This week, Mr. Trump nominated Neomi Rao to serve as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a department that Mr. Sunstein himself led from 2009-2012. The office, he writes, is made up of patriotic civil servants rather than political appointees, a testament to the good work done by the so-called “deep state.” And he’s optimistic about the appointment of Ms. Rao to continue this work. Read more »
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