Lazy Saturday Reads: Grown-Ups on the Left and Clowns on the RightPosted: September 12, 2015 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump, GOP Clown Car, Hillary Clinton, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leadership, Rick Perry 7 Comments
There’s big news today from the UK. The Brits have elected Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader–which, according to the Guardian, means that “the party now has one of the most leftwing, anti-establishment leaders in its history.”
Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the British Labour party, in a stunning first-round victory that dwarfed even the mandate for Tony Blair in 1994.
Corbyn won with nearly 59.5% of first-preference votes, beating rivals Andy Burnham, who trailed on 19%, and Yvette Cooper who received 17%. The “Blairite” candidate Liz Kendall came last on 4.5%.
Minutes after his victory, Corbyn said the message is that people are “fed up with the injustice and the inequality” of Britain.
“The media and many of us, simply didn’t understand the views of young people in our country. They were turned off by the way politics was being conducted. We have to and must change that. The fightback gathers speed and gathers pace,” he said.
The north London MP is one of the most unexpected winners of the party leadership in its history, after persuading Labour members and supporters that the party needed to draw a line under the New Labour era of Blair and Gordon Brown.
Wow! Could this be the beginning of the end for austerity politics in Europe? Reuters and other U.S. media outlets are calling Corbyn a “Marx admirer.”
Reuters: Marx admirer Corbyn elected UK opposition Labour leader.
Karl Marx admirer Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party on Saturday, a victory that may make a British EU exit more likely and which one former Labour prime minister has said could leave their party unelectable.
Greeted by cheers from supporters in the room and hailed by radicals across Europe, Corbyn’s triumph opened up the prospect of deep splits within Labour with some fearing he will repel voters with radical policies that include unilateral nuclear disarmament, nationalization and wealth taxes.
“Things can and they will change,” Corbyn, who when he entered the contest was a rank outsider, said in his acceptance speech after taking 59.5 percent of votes cast, winning by a far bigger margin than anyone had envisaged.“I say thank you in advance to us all working together to achieve great victories, not just electorally for Labour, but emotionally for the whole of our society to show we don’t have to be unequal, it doesn’t have to be unfair, poverty isn’t inevitable,” the grey-haired, bearded 66-year-old said.
His victory reflects growing support for left-wing movements across Europe, with Syriza winning an election in Greece in January and Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos performing well in opinion polls.
Here’s a profile of Corbyn in Time Magazine: Meet the Man Shaking Up Britain’s Political Establishment (September 4, 2015).
Before announcing his candidacy for the Labour Party leadership, Jeremy Corbyn was a little-known member of parliament (MP) who had represented the same London constituency, Islington North, for 32 years. His career had always been more focused on left-wing activism than government — he is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Stop the War Coalition — but this has not prevented him becoming the odds on favorite to become the next leader of the 115-year-old party, which has been without one since Ed Milliband resigned following a disastrous election campaign which saw the party all but eradicated in Scotland and far behind the Conservatives elsewhere.
The Labour Party governed Britain under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010 after they rebranded the party as ‘New Labour’, adopted more centrist policies and persuaded many formerly Conservative voters to back them. Corbyn was often opposed to his own government in power and he hopes to shift Labour from being a centre-left party to one that is decisively left wing.
Corbyn makes some in the Labour Pary nervous, according to author Tara John.
The Labour Party leader is elected by the membership from a shortlist selected by MPs. Many in Labour fear that if the membership elect Corbyn on Sept. 12, it will mean the end of the party as a viable candidate for government, instead devolving into a left-wing pressure group. “The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below,” warned Tony Blair in the Guardian. “If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the next election. It will mean rout, possibly annihilation.”
Corbyn’s platform seems like a return to the postwar Britain of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, when the foundation of the welfare state was laid. Corbyn has called for the renationalization of rail and energy companies and funding increased government spending with higher taxes on the wealthy. He would also withdraw the U.K. from NATO and abandon its independent nuclear deterrent, which would be catastrophic for its relations with the U.S. and other nations and reduce the U.K’s role in international affairs.
Speaking at the Union Chapel in London to hundreds of supporters last month, Corbyn blamed the post-2008 policies of economic austerity on bankers and economists who were forcing the poorest and most vulnerable in the world to pay for the mistakes of the banking system. “
Read more at the link.
Of course many in the U.S. media are comparing Corbyn to Bernie Sanders. For example, in the Wall Street Journal, Ian Birrell called him “Britain’s Bernie Sanders,” (September 4). Birrell strongly disapproves of both candidates of course.
…in perhaps the strangest twist in modern British politics, this left-winger, now 66, finds himself at the helm of a youth movement that may sweep him to the head of the Labour Party when the summer-long leadership election results are revealed on Sept. 12. To call this a surprise would be massive understatement. Labour lost a general election in May because it was seen as too militant. Mr. Corbyn stood for the party’s leadership only reluctantly as the hard left’s token candidate. At first he struggled to find enough supporters to make the ballot, and was written off by bookmakers as a 100-1 shot.
But like Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential race, Mr. Corbyn has electrified disenchanted young voters, leading to a surge in support for his antiquated brand of socialism. New members have flocked to join the party, while his rallies overflow with fans enthralled by his “authenticity.”
It’s going to be interesting to see what comes of this surprising turn of events in Britain.
Back in the USA, the Clown Car will go on down the road to destruction with one less passenger.
Sam Reissman at The National Memo: Rick Perry Drops Out Of Presidential Race.
On Friday afternoon, Rick Perry became the first candidate in the congested Republican field to drop out of the presidential race.
In a concession speech delivered to the Eagle Forum in St. Louis, Missouri, the former Texas governor took aim at Donald Trump — without directly mentioning the business tycoon’s name. He challenged voters to resist the lures of celebrity, nativism, racism, false conservatism, and candidates who did not have true Christian faith.
He asserted that the U.S.-Mexico border can be secured “without inflammatory rhetoric, without base appeals that divide us based by race, culture, and creed.”
“Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant,” he said. “It betrays the example of Christ.”
He nodded to Martin Luther King, Jr., saying in his prepared remarks: “We need to get back to the central constitutional principle that, in America, it is the content of your character that matters, not the color of your skin – that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you are going.”
“We have a tremendous field of candidates,” he said, faltering. “Probably the greatest group of men and women. I step aside knowing our party’s in good hands.”
Buh-bye Rick, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Who will be the next to fall by the wayside?
Now for the clowniest of the clown car riders:
Donald Trump claimed yesterday that he can kick out all the undocumented immigrants in 18 months to 2 years. From the Wall Street Journal:
Donald Trump estimated that it will take 18 months to two years to get the roughly 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to leave the country, and that he would then build a wall running along the border with Mexico.
The businessman’s statement made on a call with Alabama Republicans Thursday night added a bit of specificity to the Republican presidential frontrunner’s hardline stance on immigration….
Mr. Trump was asked for details about how long it would take to round up illegal immigrants living in the U.S., with the questioner asking if five or ten years was an appropriate timeframe. Mr. Trump said his two year benchmark could be met with “really good management.”
“We have to get them out. If we have wonderful cases, they can come back in but they have to come back in legally,” Mr. Trump said in an audio clip posted on YouTube Thursday night by a person on the call.
Mr. Trump said he would remove illegal immigrants from the country “so fast that your head will spin,” and long before he could embark on his plan to build a wall spanning the 1,900 mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Trump didn’t say how he would accomplish this or how much it would cost taxpayers, but he did say that Ben Carson would not be able to do it: “It wouldn’t work for him because he has absolutely no management capability.”
So that’s what’s happening in the lowest-common-denominator campaign . . . Sigh…
The Justice Department stuck a hatpin in the GOP MailGhazi ballon yesterday.
Ruby Cramer and Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed News: Justice Department Lawyers: Clinton Had Authority To Delete Personal Emails.
In a little noticed brief, filed on Wednesday to a federal court, Department of Justice lawyers outlined a comprehensive defense of the contentious decision by Hillary Clinton to wipe the private email server she used as secretary of state: The attorneys assert that, regardless of whether she used a personal or government account, Clinton was within her legal right to handpick the emails that qualified as federal records — and to delete the ones she deemed personal.
“There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision — she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server,” write the Justice Department attorneys, representing the State Department in the brief.
The lawyers add that under policies issued by the State Department and by NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration, government employees “are permitted and expected to exercise judgment to determine what constitutes a federal record.”
Be sure to read the whole thing!
And of course the NYT continues its tired attacks: Hillary Clinton’s Long Road to ‘Sorry’ Over Email use. Because they know more than the Justice Department and they only focus on gossip these days.
Other News, Links Only
Reuters: Russia to U.S.: talk to us on Syria or risk ‘unintended incidents.’
NYT: US Drops Charges That Professor Shared Technology With China.
MSNBC: Poll: Democrats claim resounding Latino support over GOP.
Jonathan Chait: Bobby Jindal Upset That Trump Is Stealing His Act. (funny!)
The National Memo: This Week In Crazy: Come Hell And High Water.
Reuters: At least 107 killed by falling crane at Grand Mosque in Mecca.
BBC News: India restaurant blast in Madhya Pradesh kills 89.
Buzzfeed: This Is What Refugees Are Given in Germany. (Nice, upbeat story)
NPR: Camerawoman Who Tripped Migrant In Hungary Apologizes. (What a horrible woman!)
NY Daily News: James Blake doesn’t want NYPD cop who tackled him to ‘ever have a badge and gun again.’
What else is happening?