As 2020 Democrats embrace 'free everything,' Klobuchar distinguishes herself by being realistic

With an announcement on Vermont Public Radio Tuesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt. entered an already crowded field of Democrats hoping to land in the White House in 2020. Bringing his signature promises of free healthcare and the free college tuition to an already promise-heavy field, Sanders also joined the competition to tell voters only what they want to hear — not what is actually possible.

The night before, however, another Democratic candidate, Amy Klobuchar, offered a dose of reality — refreshing because of its rarity.

Speaking at a town hall in New Hampshire, she refused to back free four-year college. “If I was a magic genie and could give that to everyone and we could afford it, I would,” she said. When pushed on the subject and asked specifically about high debt burdens facing students, she held her ground, telling host Don Lemon:

“I know that, but I’ve got to tell the truth. I mean, we have this mounting debt that the Trump administration keeps getting worse and worse. I also don’t want to leave that on the shoulders of all these kids.”

That’s a remarkably candid and balanced approach to tackling a real problem of ballooning higher education costs.

And Klobuchar didn’t stop there. In the same town hall, she called the "Green New Deal" “aspirational” and characterized “Medicare For all” as something better suited to the future than a workable policy proposition in the present.

Klobuchar is right, and her fellow Democrats would do well to pay attention. Pragmatic policy might not be as flashy as grand promises of free goodies, but in the long run, Klobuchar is well on her way to differentiating herself. All she has to do is meet the low bar of being somewhat realistic.

Sanders and the Democrats who have been quick to embrace his proposals as party orthodoxy aren't "magic genies" any more than Klobuchar is. The difference is that unlike Klobuchar, they aren't ready to admit that.


Record number cite poor leadership as US's greatest problem: poll

More than a third of Americans say that poor leadership is the greatest problem facing America, the highest percentage ever recorded to say so, according to a poll released Monday.

A Gallup poll released on Presidents Day found that 35 percent of Americans say that poor leadership ranks as the most important problem in the country, edging out immigration or gun violence.

The percentage is the highest ever recorded by Gallup and is a two-point increase from the previous record set in 2013 during that year's government shutdown. The number has been steadily increasing since President Trump took office in 2017, the pollsters noted, and ranked as Americans' top concern all but two months last year.

Much of the increase has been among Republicans, where Gallup says there was a 14-percent increase in the frequency of mentioning the government as the most important problem facing the U.S.

Both parties are about equally as likely now to name the government as America's top issue, according to the poll, while independents were slightly less likely to name it as their top issue. 31 percent of independents named government as the most pressing issue facing the U.S., compared to 37 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans.

Gallup's poll contacted 1,016 adults living in all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C. for the poll, for which the margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Lindsey Graham calls for investigation of 'attempted bureaucratic coup' against Trump

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has vowed to launch an investigation into whether top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI plotted to carry out a “bureaucratic coup” to force President Donald Trump from office. 

Graham made his pronouncement during a Sunday conversation with CBS’ “Face The Nation.” He’d been reacting to the bombshell “60 Minutes” interview with Andrew McCabe, in which the former FBI deputy director had confirmed that Justice Department officials had discussed ousting Trump in 2017 using the 25th Amendment. 

McCabe also corroborated earlier reports that said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had suggested wearing a wire when meeting with Trump ― an allegation that Rosenstein has vehemently denied. 

Graham promised Sunday to “get to the bottom” of what actually happened. 

“We will have a hearing about who’s telling the truth,” he told “Face The Nation.”

“It’s stunning to me that one of the chief law enforcement officers of the land ― the acting head of the FBI ― would go on national television and say, ’Oh, by the way, I remember a conversation with the deputy attorney general about trying to find if we could replace the president under the 25th Amendment,’” Graham said. “We’re a democracy. People enforce the law — can’t take it into their own hands.”

The lawmaker questioned whether what McCabe described amounted to “an attempted bureaucratic coup.” 

“Was this an attempted bureaucratic coup? I don’t know. I don’t know who’s telling the truth. I know [former Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein vehemently denied it but we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” Graham said. 

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that the Republican senator has suggested a “bureaucratic coup” had been plotted against President Trump.

Speaking to Fox News in September, Graham said FBI officials had tried to “taint” the 2016 presidential election in Democrat Hillary Clinton’s favor. 

At the time, he called for a new special counsel to be appointed to investigate these claims.


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