Thursday, February 14, 2019

McConnell sets Green New Deal trap -- Feb. 14, 2019 column


By MARSHA MERCER

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been in the Senate longer than Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has been alive.

That imbalance became clear Tuesday as McConnell set up a vote to make Democrats pay for their reckless embrace of the Green New Deal.

McConnell, who turns 77 Wednesday, arrived in the Senate in 1985. Ocasio-Cortez was born in 1989.

At 29, she is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, a wizard at social media with 3.1 million Twitter followers. A video of her House Oversight and Reform Committee “Lightning Round” take-down at the of lax ethics and campaign finance rules is an internet sensation.

But her rollout of the much-anticipated Green New Deal was a disaster.

To recap, her office released and then retracted a frequently-asked-questions sheet that included the goals of economic security for people “unwilling to work,” and eventually ridding the country of flatulent cows, airplanes and various industries.

None of those ideas is in the actual resolution, H. Res. 109, but they were the first many people heard about the Green New Deal. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t help matters when she falsely said there were “doctored” FAQ versions on the internet.

The resolution is non-binding but would indicate support to set the federal government on the path of a “10 year national mobilization” to fight climate change and remake the economy.

Among the goals: “Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” It also guarantees jobs, education, food and health care for everyone.

Such sweeping changes need serious consideration with months, if not years, of hearings, and compromises. By rushing out a resolution in her first month in office, Ocasio-Cortez delighted her fans but walked into a trap.

The conservative media and President Donald Trump quickly blasted the Green New Deal as ridiculous.

“It sounds like a high school term paper that got a low mark,” Trump said at a campaign rally in El Paso. “I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane rights, of ‘Let’s hop a train to California,’ or you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!”

Ocasio-Cortez rightly could have said her manifesto wouldn’t do any of those things. It doesn’t include any specific proposals. But she lobbed her response by tweet: “Ah yes, a man who can’t even read briefings written in full sentences is providing literary criticism of a House Resolution.

Meanwhile, McConnell, a veteran of many political wars, was setting the trap.

He looked like the cat that swallowed the canary when he announced the Senate would vote on the Green New Deal resolution. A resolution identical to Ocasio-Cortez’s was introduced by Sen. Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts.

“We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal,” McConnell told reporters. 

Mischievous Mitch used to say he would only bring measures to the floor that would get Trump’s signature. This time he means to get Democrats on the record so Republican candidates can hammer them during 2020 campaigns.

Half a dozen Democratic senators are running for president, and nearly a dozen Democrats face tough Senate re-election bids.

The botched rollout has made more than Ocasio-Cortez look amateurish. So too do the presidential hopefuls who jumped on the bandwagon. 

Six cosponsors are announced or likely presidential contenders -- Sens. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who may run again, is also a cosponsor.

In contrast, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 78, a wily congressional veteran who came to the House in 1987, has kept the Green New Deal at arm’s length.

“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi told Politico. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?”

Pelosi saw early what’s now dawning on less savvy Democrats: The Green New Deal wasn’t ready for prime time. It created a political opening for Republicans and a liability for Democrats.   

©2019 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.
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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Fair pay law for women early test for Democratic Congress -- Feb. 7, 2019 column


By MARSHA MERCER

The most memorable visual from the State of the Union was the most joyous.

We’re used to Republican members of Congress popping up from their chairs and dutifully applauding President Donald Trump – and to Democrats, with rare exceptions, sitting glumly.    

On Tuesday night, though, dozens of Democratic women wearing “suffragette white” to show solidarity and to honor the legacy of the suffragette movement, became a wave of celebration.

The women were largely quiescent until Trump began touting the economy.

“No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year,” he said.

The women – many of them newcomers to Congress – perked up. Smiling, they looked around, stood and applauded, pointing to themselves and each other. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi beamed.

“Don’t sit yet. You’re going to like this,” Trump said. “And exactly one century after the Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before,” he said.

At that, the women -- many of whom ran for Congress and won because of their outspoken opposition to Trump’s policies – rejoiced in their triumph with energetic fist-pumps, high fives and hugs. Their jubilation was infectious.

Now they need to harness their enthusiasm to succeed in the hyper-partisan capital. 

The Democratic House must deliver on promises to make Washington work for everybody.

It’s exciting to think the new members actually will build coalitions and pass bills that better the lives of women and families. Even Trump says he favors paid family and medical leave, although there’s nothing to show for it.  

One of the first tests for Congress is ensuring women get equal pay for their work. Finally.

Equal pay has been the law of the land since the 1960s, but the gender pay gap – the difference in median earnings of a man and a woman each working full time -- persists.

A woman in 2017 earned about 20 percent less than a man, according to the most recent Census Bureau figures. The wage gap is worse for black women and Hispanic women.

This isn’t a fluke or women working in “women’s” jobs that pay less. Men’s median weekly pay exceeds women’s in almost every occupation -- from chief executives to janitors and building cleaners, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

The Paycheck Fairness Act was first introduced more than a decade ago. It would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and make employers more accountable for their pay practices.

It would end pay secrecy and retaliation – workplace rules that keep workers from asking about others’ wages and disclosing their own; allow workers to sue for damages from pay discrimination; strengthen penalties for equal pay violations, and update the federal role in education, research and data-collection to combat gender discrimination.  

The House first passed Paycheck Fairness in January 2009, but the bill died in the Senate. It has been reintroduced repeatedly and has always failed.  

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, and Sen. Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, reintroduced the measure Jan. 30.

In the House, every Democrat and one Republican are cosponsors. In the Senate, there are 45 cosponsors – all Democrats and Bernie Sanders, independent. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia are cosponsors.

Rep. Bobby Scott, Democrat of Virginia, is now chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, and plans to fast-track the legislation with a hearing this month and a House vote soon after. The goal is to have a bill on Trump’s desk by early April.

But passage is hardly assured. Even though more women serve in Congress than ever, they still make up only about a quarter of the total membership.

What’s needed is a thaw in the Republican-controlled Senate. Republicans oppose the bill as unnecessary, saying it burdens employers and could even harm women,  if employers are reluctant to hire them.

But surely in 2019 equal pay for women doing equal work is an issue we all can agree on.

It’s time for Congress – new members and veterans – to turn to the hard work of governing and get the job done.

  ©2019 Marsha Mercer All rights reserved.



Thursday, January 31, 2019

Meddling in 2016 election just a warm up for 2020 -- Jan. 31, 2019 column


By MARSHA MERCER

So, you see a video of President Donald Trump doing something truly outrageous, what do you do?

Or, you hear an audio clip of Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris saying something beyond the pale, what then?

Rush to share it. Fly into a furious tweetstorm. Post and rant on Facebook. I know, it happens all the time.

But what if the video or audio you sent ’round the world was fake, bogus, a trick?

I don’t mean fake news but a deepfake: digital audio or video created by artificial intelligence so realistic we can’t tell it’s fake.

In our brave new cyberworld, voters should know what we see and hear may not always be real. As in, no, you can’t believe your lying eyes – or ears.

In 2016, Russia and others used fake web sites and impersonated Americans on social media to divide us and sow discord. As if we needed help in that department.

By 2018, Russia, China and Iran all tried to manipulate and polarize us. Fortunately, they were unable to compromise the elections, the U.S. government says.

But that likely was just a warm-up.  

“We expect (foreign actors) to refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each other’s experiences and efforts, suggesting the threat landscape could look very different in 2020 and future elections,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday.  

One big, new threat is deepfakes, which made news in 2017, when people swapped actresses faces for porn stars and made sex videos.

Almost anyone can make deepfakes now, and they have the potential for creating havoc on the national and world stage.

Today, while the algorithms are complex, “there are user-friendly platforms that people with little to no technical expertise can use to create deepfakes,” Charlotte Stanton, director of the Silicon Valley office of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, wrote in a report released Monday.

“The easiest among these platforms allow anyone with access to the internet and pictures of a person’s face to make a deepfake. Tutorials are even available for people who want step-by-step instructions,” Stanton said.

Canadian start-up Lyrebird claims it creates “the most realistic artificial voices in the world” from just one minute of speech. To show how realistic – and scary this is – the lyrebird.ai website has sample “voice avatars” of Donald Trump and Barack Obama. You’d never guess they’re fakes.

Make no mistake, there are laudable uses for such technology. Lyrebird works with ALS patients to create a digital voice copies so they can still communicate in their voice if they lose the ability to speak.

But the bad guys are out there, and the Pentagon and academics are researching how to identify and stop deepfakes. The AI technology evolves so fast it makes detection ever more difficult.
Congress is alarmed, and some lawmakers are weighing legislation, although it’s important not to create new problems while fixing one. Sen. Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, wants to make it illegal to create or distribute malicious deepfakes.

“Deepfakes – video of things that were never done with audio of things that were never said – can be tailor-made to drive Americans apart and pour gasoline on just about any culture war fire,” Sasse told Axios.

Government can’t save us from being gullible. Each of us needs to guard against those who want to weaken our democracy and make truth a relic of the past.

What can we do? First, be skeptical. As always, consider the source before you share.
Look closely. In some deepfake videos, the people don’t blink -- but blinking doesn’t guarantee one is legit.

And take a breath. It’s easy to fly off the handle and repost the things that confirm our worst nightmares.

“Let us remember that while Russia can amplify our divisions, it cannot invent them,” Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, co-chairman of the Intel committee, said at Tuesday’s hearing.

“When a divisive issue like the `take a knee’ NFL controversy or a migrant caravan dominates the national dialogue, these are issues that can be – and are – taken advantage of by Russian trolls. Let’s not make their work easier,” Warner said.

Excellent advice. It won’t be easy, but we need to unite on this one thing: stopping deepfake tricks in their tracks.

©2019 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Shutdown weighs on Trump -- Jan. 24, 2019 column


By MARSHA MERCER

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won the battle over the State of the Union.

President Donald Trump acceded to Pelosi’s decision to postpone the address until the federal government reopens.

“This is her prerogative,” he tweeted late Wednesday night, reversing course.

Hours earlier he’d said he was looking for another venue after Pelosi said he couldn’t make the speech in the House chamber as long as the government is partially shut down. Then he changed his mind.

“There is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber,” he tweeted.

He’s right. Trump can draw a crowd of enthusiastic supporters wearing red MAGA hats to an arena anytime. But the State of the Union address is one of the rare occasions all three branches of government and the diplomatic corps gather in one august room as a captive audience while TV cameras roll.

Trump could have avoided all the drama had he agreed with Pelosi the speech was a bad idea while a quarter of the government was closed. She cited security concerns, but the administration insisted there was no problem with security.

Instead, he tried to bully her, saying he would deliver the speech despite her request to postpone. She then refused to allow the House to vote for the resolution authorizing a joint session of Congress.

And so the president who hates to be seen as weak looked weak. Three new polls, including one by his favorite network, Fox News, show his job performance ratings are slipping.

Fox found only 43 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing overall, down 3 points from December. He is also under water on border security, immigration and foreign policy, Fox reported. 

“TRUMP BLINKS” Fox blared in a headline on its website as conservative commentators criticized his State of the Union turnabout.    

“Bad decision,” Laura Ingraham of Fox News said. She said she’d give three State of the Union speeches around the country. 

But the real question is not where Trump will give the State of the Union address but when.

Presidents use the prime-time address to lay out their legislative priorities for the coming year. By postponing, Trump all but announced his agenda is going nowhere in Congress during the shutdown and perhaps after that.

Thus Trump is learning even the president has limitations in a country with three equal branches of government. Republican congressional leaders have been afraid to stand up to him, but the Democratic-controlled House has a speaker who’s keen to use her power.

Meanwhile, the country is enduring the longest federal government shutdown in history with more than 800,000 federal workers going without pay because the president has refused to compromise on his demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall.

Democrats refuse to meet his demand, contending that, if they give in now, Trump will use the shutdown threat to force passage of future initiatives. Democrats  floated the idea of $5.7 billion for enhanced border security – just not for a physical wall, which they see as ineffective.

Trump’s attempt to bring Democrats to the table failed because he offered only a temporary fix for the young people called Dreamers who came to the country as children – and no compromise on wall funding.

So far, Democrats appear to be winning the shutdown battle.

Pelosi got a higher rating for her handling of negotiations for the shutdown than Trump in a CBS News poll, which found 47 percent approve of Pelosi and 35 percent of Trump.

Republicans and Democrats each want their leaders to keep fighting, which explains the current congressional gridlock. Lawmakers are unlikely to budge unless they feel political pain.

But it’s the independents who often determine elections, and 60 percent of independents disapprove of Trump’s job performance, the highest share among those voters since Trump took office, the Politico/Morning Consult poll reported.

Is a border wall worth the shutdown? CBS asked. A whopping 71 percent of independents said no. For Trump and Senate Republicans, that’s an ominous number looking to 2020.


©2019 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

One King to honor, another to shun -- Jan. 17, 2019 column


By MARSHA MERCER

Two men named King are in the news.

First, let us turn to a King who deserves our admiration and respect. A federal holiday Monday honors the life and memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The slain civil rights leader, who won the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35 for his nonviolent campaign against racism, would have turned 90 on Jan. 15. He was 39 when his life was cut tragically short by a sniper April 4, 1968.

It’s instructive, given recent events involving another man named King, to remember the MLK Jr. holiday was hard won.

Congress dithered for 15 years, and Sen. Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina, filibustered the bill with 300 pages of documents accusing King of being a Marxist with communist leanings.

Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York declared the papers “filth.”

Eventually Congress did the right thing and sent the bill to President Ronald Reagan, who signed the King holiday into law in 1983. The first observance was in 1986. Still some states lagged. Arizona did not recognize the holiday until 1992 and New Hampshire 1999. 

Now, though, every year on the third Monday in January, people gather for prayer breakfasts and worship services, read King’s writings and tell his stories to younger generations. Choirs sing, bells toll and people march. Many devote their time to volunteering on the national day of service.

The day demands action because Martin Luther King Jr’s work is far from done.

 “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” he said.

And that brings us to the other, lesser, King in the news.

Rep. Steve King, Republican of Iowa, after a career of racist rhetoric, has finally been punished. He was kicked off the powerful Agriculture, Judiciary and Small Business committees and has been urged to resign from Congress.

The furor stemmed from a Jan. 10 interview in The New York Times.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization – how did that language become offensive?” King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and civilization?”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, suggested King “find another line of work” if he didn’t understand why his comments were offensive. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the remarks “abhorrent.”

King tried to tamp down the outrage by insisting he did not advocate white nationalism or white supremacy, had been misquoted and his remarks taken out of context

Rep. James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, the top African-American congressional leader, introduced a measure to condemn the substance of King’s remarks, pointing out it was MLK Jr.’s 90th birthday. Clyburn referred to a “tale of two Kings.”

The House voted 424 to 1 for the resolution. Even King voted for it. The only no vote was Rep. Bobby Rush, Democrat of Illinois, who thought the resolution too weak and wanted the house to censure King.

Other House Democrats thought censuring a member of Congress for speech outside Congress could be a bad precedent, especially given the new crop of outspoken Democratic members.

The full House punted on censure on a voice vote, referring the matter to the House Ethics Committee.

Steve King is at least isolated and immobilized. Several newspapers in Iowa say he has embarrassed the state long enough and should resign. He says he won’t resign, which is always what people say until the moment they do.  

So let Steve King stew in his bitter juices, and let us shun him and his boneheaded ideas while we celebrate the inspiring life of Martin Luther King Jr.

The open-air Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and bookshop in Washington remain open during the partial government shutdown. Among the MLK quotations on his memorial is this from 1959:

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. 
You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

Those are words to live by on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and every day.
©2019, Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.
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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Think you know impeachment? Take our quiz -- Jan. 10, 2019 column


By MARSHA MERCER

New Democratic House members are prodding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to get on with impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. But Pelosi and other seasoned Democratic leaders have put the brakes on such talk, saying they need to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller to present his findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

For his part, Trump says he can’t be impeached because he’s doing a good job. He tweeted Jan. 4: “They only want to impeach me because they know they can’t win in 2020, too much success!”

So what exactly does impeachment entail? Test your knowledge with our quiz. Answers are below.   

1       1 Under the Constitution, who can be impeached?
A.      Only the president
B.      Only the president and vice president
C.      The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States

2       2  Which of these are causes for impeachment and removal from office as set forth in the Constitution?
A.      Repeated lies and criminal behavior
B.      Treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors
C.      Collusion with a foreign entity  

3       3 What happens in the House during impeachment proceedings?
A.      The House brings formal charges of malfeasance
B.      The House has a trial  
C.      The House has the power to remove the president from office
D.      All of the above

4       4 What is the Senate’s role in impeachment?
A.      The Senate rubberstamps the House’s verdict
B.      The Senate conducts a trial with House members as prosecutors
C.      Only the Senate has the power to remove the president from office
D.      B and C 
5          5 Which two presidents have been impeached?
A.      Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton
B.      Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton
C.      Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton  

6      6 Which president was impeached and removed from office?
A.      Andrew Johnson
B.      Bill Clinton
C.      Richard Nixon
D.      None

7       7 Who is next in line to be president after the president and vice president?
A.      Speaker of the House
B.      Secretary of State
C.      President Pro Tempore of the Senate
D.      Congress would elect the president

8       8   What vote is required in the House to impeach a president?
A.      Simple majority
B.      Two-thirds

9      9 What vote is required in the Senate to remove a president?
A.      Simple majority
B.      Two-thirds

1      10 Who presides over an impeachment trial in the Senate?
A.      The senator with the most seniority
B.      The Supreme Court justice selected by other justices
C.      Chief Justice of the United States

1      11 How did impeachment affect President Bill Clinton’s job approval ratings?
A.      His ratings plummeted to the lowest level of his presidency
B.      His ratings jumped to the highest level of his presidency

1      12 How did Republican impeachment proceedings against Clinton affect the approval ratings of Republicans?
A.      The approval rating of the Republican Party jumped 10 percent
B.      The Republican approval rating plummeted 10 percent

Answers:
1)      C – Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution
2)      B – The Constitution doesn’t define “high crimes and misdemeanors,” leaving it to  Congress.
3)      A -- The House’s role is to bring the charges.
4)      D – The Senate holds a trial and has sole power to remove from office.
5)      A – Nixon resigned after the House drew up articles of impeachment but before he would have been impeached.  
6)      D – No presidents have been removed from office.
7)      A – Yes, Nancy Pelosi would be next in line if President Trump and Vice President Pence were unable to serve.
8)      A
9)      B
10)   C
11)   B – After the House approved two articles of impeachment against Clinton for lying under oath and obstructing justice in December 1998, his approval rating jumped 10 points to 73 percent, even though most people thought he had lied and was less honest and trustworthy, a Gallup poll found.
12)  B – Gallup found less than one-third of the country had a favorable view of the GOP.

SOURCES: Senate.gov, House.gov, National Archives, Library of Congress, Gallup.com

© 2019 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.
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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Resolving to be president? Ask W.C. Fields -- Jan. 3, 2019 column


By MARSHA MERCER

The first Democrat out of the gate to formally explore a 2020 presidential bid is traipsing around Iowa this weekend.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a foe of big banks and big business, promises to end the corruption in Washington and be a champion for the middle class.

She has called President Donald Trump a “thin-skinned racist bully.” He calls her Pocahontas.

Warren is the first of thousands of earnest Democratic presidential hopefuls who soon will be out campaigning. OK, it’ll only be dozens, but it will feel like thousands.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont are among those weighing bids.

Meanwhile, Trump never stopped campaigning, as his every appearance demonstrates. 

Some state Republican officials say they might cancel GOP primaries to keep Trump from facing a challenge from within his own party.

Democrats are determined to send Trump back to New York after one term, but with no clear front-runner, party leader or unifying message, at this point anyone could become the Democrats’ nominee.

The Democratic National Committee will sponsor six candidate debates this year, starting in June.

We’re facing countless breakfasts, lunches, dinners, tweets, emails and untold Russian influences before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses in February 2020.

Candidates will try to outdo each other with campaign resolutions aplenty. So, we need to pace ourselves.

What we need is W.C. Fields. Really. 

I ran across a parody the comedian wrote that can lighten and enlighten our long campaign season. In “Fields for President,” he announces his candidacy and puts forth his thoughts about resolutions – campaign and New Year’s.

The year was 1940, and Franklin D. Roosevelt had just been elected to an unprecedented third term. A book nearly 80 years old, “Fields for President” is silly, often sexist and surprisingly on point. It was republished in 2016 with a forward by TV talk show host Dick Cavett.

Fields, whose comedic persona was as a hard-drinking misanthrope, writes: 

“Campaign resolutions are nothing more than overgrown New Year’s resolutions: They are thrown together hastily at the last minute, with never a thought as to how they may be gracefully broken.

“Now, I am a candidate with years of experience in the making and breaking of New Year’s resolutions, and what I can accomplish with those, I can certainly accomplish with campaign resolutions.”

That’s as good an explanation as I’ve seen why campaign promises vanish into thin air.

This is the time of year for making New Year’s resolutions, and of course reporters ask presidents for theirs. When Fox News asked Trump his personal resolution for 2019, he replied: “Success, prosperity and the health of our country.”

You wouldn’t expect Trump to admit he needs to change anything, would you?

Few presidents are like Jimmy Carter who conceded after his first year in office he’d underestimated Congress and would try harder in the New Year.

President George W. Bush said at the end of 2001, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “All in all, it’s been a fabulous year for Laura and me.” He also said he didn’t regret even one of the decisions he’d made.

To be fair, Bush enjoyed an approval rating of nearly 90 percent at the time.

But Bush also came forth with a personal resolution: “Eat fewer cheeseburgers.”

Fields says: “Ninety-three percent of New Year’s resolutions fail because they are based on frustration. Tell a person he must no longer eat pomegranates, and he’ll be a nervous wreck until he does eat them.”

What he called the Fields Plan takes the opposite approach. “Instead of prohibiting a person from doing what he’d like to do, force him to do what he’d like to do,” he 
writes.

We’re about to see each candidate develop and pitch a plan he or she hopes will match what voters would like to happen. But, as boxer Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.  

So we’d best take all these resolutions with a healthy dose of skepticism and a grain of salt – just not on our pomegranates.

©2019 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.
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