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Rubio’s now-infamous repetition wasn’t as crazy as what he was saying

    Almost everyone who pays attention to politics is aware by now that Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential hopeful, embarrassed himself on the debate stage the other night by reciting four times in short succession a nasty little spiel about  President Obama he apparently had committed to memory. Badgered by Chris Christie, one of his rivals, Rubio came off as mindlessly robotic with his nearly-verbatim repetition of this theme: “Let’s dispel [sic] with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He...

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Mainstream media failing badly in coverage of presidential campaign

  If an objective, fair-minded history of the 2016 presidential campaign is ever written — which may or may not happen — the failures of the mainstream media will figure prominently in the story. American media have never been very good at covering politics, but the situation is getting worse in this age of ubiquitous news outlets. Decades ago, we had only daily newspapers, weekly news magazines, once-or-twice-a-day television newscasts and radio. Today, we have round-the-clock news channels, the Internet and social media....

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Whatever happened to the Republican Party’s social liberals?

    The death the other day of former Rockford Ald. John Holub and the impending 94th birthday of former Rockford Congressman John B. Anderson [above] bring to mind a question: Are there any elected Republican officials these days whom you could characterize as liberals — at least on social issues? It seems there are not. Holub and Anderson were a generation apart in age when they became good friends years before Anderson’s ill-fated bid to become president 36 years ago. And they were both liberals, especially so in...

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If you could choose a non-candidate to serve as president, whom would it be?

Every time we have a presidential campaign in this country, some people are heard to say that none of the available candidates fill the bill. They wish there were other choices. OK! So whom do you wish was running for the White House this year? Of all the people in public life — politicians, business leaders, opinionists, anyone — whom would you choose to serve as president? I’ve got my choice — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat. Make your...

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America’s worst political forecaster says Ted Cruz likely will win the White House

  Relax, folks. You need not worry that Ted Cruz, the right-wing extremist who won the Republican caucuses in Iowa the other night, will go on to capture the presidency. That now seems all but impossible. My confidence in this matter arises from the fact that Dick Morris, a former pundit on Fox News Channel, is predicting that Cruz seems a good bet to win his bid for the White House. You see, Morris is a notoriously bad political prognosticator. He’s so bad that Fox fired him a few years ago for his utter incompetence as a pundit....

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On several counts, Cruz victory in Iowa caucuses is good news for Democrats

    As if by magic, Iowa Republicans made the worst possible choice the winner of the party’s presidential caucuses last night. The victory for Ted Cruz was doubly delicious in that he finished ahead of the loony Donald Trump. The Democrats could hardly have asked for better results. Cruz is widely detested among GOP leaders. Almost all of his Republican colleagues in the U.S. Senate hate him. He’s an unapologetic extremist. He makes Trump seem like Theodore Roosevelt. He is utterly charmless and holds little appeal...

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Iowa’s system of presidential caucuses is beyond stupid

  Is there anything in American politics more ludicrous than the importance we attribute to the Iowa presidential caucuses? Don’t bother thinking about that one. The answer is no. Even if the caucuses in the Hawkeye State were conducted fairly — which they decidedly are not — it would be ridiculous to consider them potentially important in the races for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. But they are so considered. Where else do votes cast in certain precincts count for more than votes cast in...

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Who will win the Iowa caucuses? Disclose your picks at this window

    At this writing, the weather forecast for Iowa on Monday seems likely to support at least a decent turnout for the Democratic and Republican presidential caucuses. My predictions are as follows: On the Republican side, Donald Trump will fairly easily defeat Ted Cruz. The big surprise will be a somewhat strong third-place finish by Jeb Bush, which will revive his previously flagging candidacy. Some of the other GOP hopefuls will drop out of the race later in the week, and more still will quit after the New Hampshire primary...

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Will GOP nominate Trump? Or will it be Cruz? Either way is fine with me

    As a lifelong devout liberal, it doesn’t really matter much to me whether Republicans choose Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as their presidential nominee this year. If it’s either one of those kooks, the GOP is going to lose in November. If Republicans opt instead for one of their other candidates…well, I may not be quite so confident that the Democrats will win. But it seems to me that the GOP is doomed if Trump or Cruz is at the top of the ticket. What makes me so confident? For one thing, I expect Hillary Clinton...

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Despite his Hispanic surname, Ted Cruz misinterprets a Spanish term

      You’ve heard by now, no doubt, that Donald Trump is reluctant to participate in tomorrow night’s Republican debate on the Fox News Channel if Megyn Kelly is one of the moderators. The Donald says Kelly was unfair to him when she mentioned at a previous debate that he has a penchant for saying nasty, sexist things about women. But that’s not the subject at hand here. Rather, my focus is something Ted Cruz said yesterday. He invited Trump to a two-man debate, and he did so with a popular misuse of a...

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Overuse of the word “socialist” by Republicans has deadened its sting

      One of the many surprises in this season’s race for the U.S. presidency is that Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described “Democratic Socialist,” is giving Hillary  Clinton a good run for her money in the contest for the Democratic nomination. It used to be that Democrats either ignored or denied the socialist knock from Republicans. Few would confess to the rap, lest they scare away much of the electorate. But times have changed. The only people truly alarmed by Sanders’ self-characterization are...

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It’s not too early to start planning Rockford’s bicentennial

  Longtime residents of Rockford would agree, methinks, that this city has seen better days. It’s seen worse days, too, but the current batch of problems and challenges sometimes seem especially daunting. Mind you, it’s not my purpose here to itemize the difficulties facing the Forest City.  Nor can I prescribe any magical cure-all. I can, however, suggest that there’s something the people of Rockford can do to lift their spirits, pursue a common cause, learn from the community’s past and focus on a brighter...

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