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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Opinion Sampler: Whither those Republicans?

The national Republican Party hasn't been able to regain the White House or the Senate, and it only holds the House by dint of skillful, state-level gerrymandering. Yet a lot of opinionistas are writing about them this weekend:

The poor are revolting! — George Pyle | The Salt Lake Tribune

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Imagine that the many worthies of the Republican Party and the conservative thinking class in America all woke up one morning, looked in their bathroom mirrors, and said to themselves something like this:

"You know, I really hate poor people. ...

... If the satire above became reality, how would the activity now going on in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and various statehouses across the country be any different than it is today?

It wouldn't.

Republicans open fire on Matheson — Paul Rolly | The Salt Lake Tribune

The next general election is still 16 months away, but the National Republican Congressional Committee is in overdrive in its condemnation of Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah’s lone Democrat in the six-member Utah delegation who the NRCC has been trying to defeat for 12 years. ...

The House’s immigration dilemma — Ross Douthat | The New York Times

The first thing you need to know about the House Republican view of immigration reform, the fate of which now rests with John Boehner’s restive caucus, is that there is no single House Republican view of immigration reform. ...

GOP whistling past the graveyard — Eugene Robinson | The Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Self-delusion is a sad spectacle. Watching Republicans convince themselves that killing immigration reform actually helps the GOP is excruciating, and I wish somebody would make it stop. ...

Delusions of populism — Paul Krugman | The New York Times

... These are tough times for members of the conservative intelligentsia — those denizens of think tanks and opinion pages who dream of Republicans once again becoming "the party of ideas." (Whether they ever were that party is another question.) ...

A bonfire of GOP vanities — Kathleen Parker | The Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Republicans seem to be adopting the self-immolation tactics of principled martyrs. Of course, principled or not, you're still dead in the end. ...

... Opposition to Obama’s entitlement-state agenda -- beginning with Obamacare, long before it began falling apart before our eyes -- should be a source of pride for Republicans. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t stop there. They should advance a reform agenda of their own. ...

... Without a single Democratic vote, House Republicans narrowly passed a bill that, if allowed to stand, would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in agriculture subsidies but not a dime for the hungry. ...

... Clearly, conservatives should favor the nation applying to itself the injunction "Know thyself." Besides, if conservatives do not think information about society -- the more the merrier -- strengthens their case, why are they conservatives?

The quiet gender revolution — E.J. Dionne | The Washington Post

... What’s obvious to everyone is that Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming Democratic favorite, if she decides to get in. Just last week, a Public Policy Poll in Iowa found Clinton supported by 71 percent, with 12 percent going to Vice President Joe Biden, and the other alternatives trailing badly. Recall that it was her loss in Iowa to Barack Obama that ended her front-runner status in 2008 and set Obama on his path to victory.

The difference between then and 2016 is that there is a yearning across the range of Democratic opinion for Clinton’s candidacy. The last time, she had to persuade the party. This time, the party wants to persuade her. ...


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