Opinion | There’s Hot and Then There’s Hot as … Politics

Bret Stephens: Hello, Gail. Damn, so hot.

Gail Collins: Ah Bret, we agree again. How inspiring it is to realize that even in these difficult times, Americans of all political backgrounds can gather to complain about the weather.

Bret: Just give this conversation another five seconds….

Gail: And, of course, information about Senator Joe Manchin, who has always fallen in love with any serious effort to deal with climate change.

Am I moving out of our agreement area?

Bret: Maybe a little. I am grateful to Manchin for fighting for the will of the American people. We’ll all complain about climate change more as the shocks to power supply and production fade away leaving us with intermittent power outages and extended periods without air conditioning.

On the other hand, I mentioned in a previous chat that I am going to Greenland later this summer. No kidding! An oceanographer I know quite a bit wanted to drown me in a melting glacier in hopes of some kind of Damascene transition.

Gail: Great! Then we can join hands and lobby for tax incentives that will encourage Americans to buy electric cars and encourage power companies to trade in coal for wind and solar power, right? ?

Bret: Wind and solar power alone will never meet the demand. We should build more nuclear power, which is what France is doing, again, and extract more gas and oil than in the US and Canada. However, if Joe Biden also wanted to help me pay for a Tesla that I really don’t need, I probably wouldn’t say no.

Speaking of the president, I wish him a speedy recovery. Is Covid something we can finally stop whining about?

Gail: Biden is clearly in a particular risk group because of his age, but 79-year-olds surrounded by high-quality health care workers may not be the most at-risk part of the population.

Bret: I just hope the vice president’s office doesn’t recommend a doctor.

Gail: One of the biggest problems is still people who don’t get vaccinated. And who is still being encouraged by some Republican candidates for high office.

Bret: OK, confession: I’m having a harder and harder time keeping my faith in vaccines seem to become less and less efficient than the new variants. How many boosters should we all get each year?

Gail: Oh Bret, Bret…

Bret: Never mind my Kamala joke, I’m really in trouble now. What are you talking about the Republican Party?

Gail: I was thinking of anti-vaxxers — or at least anti-vaxxers — like Dan Cox, who is now the Republican candidate for governor of Maryland, thanks to the endorsement of Donald Trump and about $1.16 million dollars for television advertising paid by the Democratic Party. The Governors Association who thought he would be easily defeated.

Bret: It’s a shame that a state Republican with one of the few remaining Republican heroes as the incumbent governor, Larry Hogan, should nominate someone as foul as Cox, who called Mike Pence “” traitor” for not trying to overturn the January 6 election. His Democratic opponent, Wes Moore, is one of the most prominent people I’ve ever met and could become a general document. system in the next few years.

I expect Cox to lose by the widest margin in history. Of course I said that of Trump in 2016.

Gail: As above. But I just hate the Democratic Party’s burgeoning strategy of giving a big boost to bad Republican candidates to raise the chances for their faction. It’s just something that can come back to haunt you in an age when voters show they’re not always afraid of candidates with the slight flaw of being crazy.

Bret: Totally agree. We should work to revive the center. Two suggestions I have for political donors with deep pockets: Don’t give a dime to an incumbent who has never worked on at least one meaningful bipartisan bill. And ask any political newcomer to identify an issue where he or she breaks party orthodoxy. If they don’t have a good answer, don’t write a check.

Example: bail reform. My jaw hit the floor when the guy who tried to stab Representative Lee Zeldin at a campaign event in New York last week went free after a few hours, even though he was later rehabilitated. federal regime.

Gail: We sell doubt on bail reform. I don’t think you decide who will be able to walk based on how much their family can afford. Anyone charged with danger should stay locked up, and the rest should go home and get ready for court day.

Opinion chat
The climate and the world are changing. What challenges will the future bring, and how should we respond to them?

Bret: There is theory and there is practice.

Gail: However, Lee Zeldin’s thing is quite shocking. The Republican candidate for governor was attacked during a public appearance. Without a doubt, the judge found the severity low – I think the attacker used a sharp keychain, and Zeldin fought him. Still, it’s an attack on a major political candidate on the run, and you’d think it would be taken as a damn serious allegation.

Bret: This particular case sorta makes my point. His attacker was released because the New York judges were prohibited by law from bail for “attempting to attack,” in this case only nonviolently because Zeldin prevented the attack. That’s not a law Democrats want to defend midterms.

Gail: Hey, we’re not talking about Congress yet – tripping over the wire! Any thoughts?

Bret: Well, if this Congress is to be remembered for nothing else, it will be the job of the special committee on January 6. The sight of Senator Josh.”Fredo“Hawley running for safety was an image to behold for the rest of his career. And there will be many former Trump voters who will likely be baffled by the fact that Donald Trump called Mike Pence a villain and then stood by for hours while his vice president was in danger. live.

Gail: It’s amazing how all of Pence’s parts of the story are sympathetic to the hero. Having to constantly remind myself that this is a guy whose idea of ​​a public enemy is Planned Parenthood.

Bret: Another positive development is that a bipartisan group of senators has come up with plans to overhaul the Voter Count Act of 1887 so it can never be used as a flimsy excuse in an attempt to overturn the election. nominate. My only question is why rewrite the law instead of abolishing it altogether? This is history that you know much better than I do.

Gail Collins: Oh my, Bret, do you realize you gave me a chance to talk about Samuel Tilden?

Bret: He wuz da one won, right?

Gail: I used to visit Tilden every day because there was a very hidden statue of him about two blocks from our apartment, along a very hidden piece of parkland where I walked my dog. He was the Democratic governor of New York who was, by all reasonable standards, elected president in 1876. Winning more than 250,000 popular votes, but his odds of winning the electoral college ballot were close. and three southern states sent two sets of returns.

Bret: Is there any chads hanging?

Gail: The result, at least as we see it as Tilden fans, was that a Republican-dominated Congress created an election commission to throw the race into the hands of Rutherford B. Hayes. Confederate votes were moved to a secret deal involving the withdrawal of federal troops that were protecting newly elected Black voters. This, of course, ended America’s first attempt at a multiracial democracy.

In response to this terrible mayhem, Congress created the Vote Counts Act of 1887, which was pretty terrible in itself, making it too easy for a disgruntled candidate to throw his entire succession right. the president in crisis. You’re right that it should be repealed entirely – this bipartisan bill still leaves some unnecessary loopholes for complicated work – but it’s an improvement and I’m in the Land of Takeaways. what we can get.

Bret: We completely agree.

Gail: God, what a good race. Must be heat. But let’s continue…

Bret: No member of Congress shall have a hand in obstructing a presidential election. Just repeal the law and let the courts hear future disputes. It’s worth remembering that not a single Trump-appointed judge went along with Trump’s theft.

Last question, since we are talking about 19th century: A new research from the University of California, Davis, found that just over half of Americans suspect that we are headed for a Second Civil War. Do you share that fear?

Gail: Well, it’s certainly impossible not to worry, but I’ll give you my upbeat analysis again, just so we can get back to normal life on a merry-go-round.

Bret: Please do.

Gail: Chances are things are looking worse than they are now because we’re going through a communications revolution more dramatic than anything since the invention of the national postal service. Back then, many people thought they agreed with their neighbors on everything because they only talked about the weather, the crops, and the wedding ban.

Then wow – so many super party newspapers and pamphlets end up in people’s hands and it turns out there are a lot of different opinions. Popular elections include massive campaigns with tons of wildly inaccurate political accusations. Then there’s the mass media, which wants to attract, um, the masses and thus be shared more evenly. And now everyone is online and it’s another time…

Bret: But haven’t we gone back to the super partisan age? In healthy democracies, the edge curves toward the center. In our democracy, the center always seems to lurk towards the edge. That can’t end well, can it?

Gail: There is no problem like slavery out there that cannot be solved without armed conflict. We have to live with a lot of noisy people trying to get attention by making one-sided arguments.

Bret: It would be nice to have people with different views get in the habit of talking, not trying to suppress it.

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