If you have had any doubts about the quality of insights found in the New York Times, they can now be put to rest: Australians Watching American Politics: ???!!!!***$%%#. Here’s how it starts:
Australians used to talk about American politics the way they talk about sport — they followed the ups and downs, marveled at the competitor, and tried to game out who would win.
This year? It’s more like the discussion of a car wreck involving a neighbor or an uncle.
For months, friends and even strangers have been asking if my relatives are healthy, worried they may have perished in the American coronavirus catastrophe. And this week, after a debacle of a debate and the news that President Trump and Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus, I saw and heard more than just empathy — also shock, dismay, fear, heartbreak and just head-shaking alarm.
Van Badham, a commentator who often writes for The Guardian (and occasionally the New York Times Opinion section), replied to my tweet about Mr. Trump’s positive test result with what many Australians seem to be feeling:
My very reaction and so well put. All the news that’s fit to be ignored.
Might also add in this from Paul Krugman on the NYT editorial page: Trump Is Killing the Economy Out of Spite. So much to choose from but this will have to do:
Last year Donald Trump called Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, a “nasty, vindictive, horrible person.” Actually, she isn’t — but he is.
Trump’s vindictiveness has become a major worry as the election approaches. He has already signaled that he won’t accept the result if he loses, which seems increasingly likely though not certain. Nobody knows what chaos, possibly including violence, he may unleash if the election doesn’t go his way.
Even aside from that concern, however, a defeated Trump would still be president for two and a half months. Would he spend that time acting destructively, in effect taking revenge on America for rejecting him?
Well, we got a preview of what a lame-duck Trump presidency might look like Tuesday. Trump hasn’t even lost yet, but he abruptly cut off talks on an economic relief package millions of Americans desperately need (although as of Thursday he seemed to be backtracking). And his motivation seems to have been sheer spite.
Why do we need economic relief? Despite several months of large employment gains, America has only partly recovered from horrific job losses in the early months of the pandemic — and the pace of recovery has slowed to a relative crawl. All indications are that the economy will remain weak for many months, maybe even years.
How long it takes for recovery to be complete, in spite of all the employment gains already, will depend on who wins the election. Obama-Biden couldn’t effect a recovery following the GFC although they had eight years to try. Not in a single year did the economy grow faster than three percent! You know Einstein’s definition of political insanity about continuing with policies that fail. I only hope we are not given the opportunity to find out for ourselves as the Democrats once again try their Keynesian economic magic.