Gail Collins: Well, gee, Bret, happy new year. How do you think 2019 has been going so far? I mean, except for the fact that the government is shut down. And Donald Trump is still president.
What do you think’s going to happen next?
Bret Stephens: And happy new year to you, Gail. My predictions, as our readers know, are unfailingly accurate. I predict that Democrats will fold over the shutdown, Mexico will agree to pay for the wall, House Republicans will vote for impeachment, the Rams will win the Super Bowl and Donald Trump will win the Nobel Prize. For Literature.
Gail: Not economics? For his pathbreaking work in demonstrating that governments don’t need to be funded?
Bret: “The Collected Tweets of Donald Trump” is surely a worthy successor to the work of William Golding, the 1983 laureate and author of “Lord of The Flies,” in its depiction of adolescent cruelty. Sorry, go on.
Gail: I want to know what you think should happen next. Presuming our president doesn’t have a visit from an angel who tells him that instead of building a wall he should concentrate on building — oh, I don’t know, a stairway to the stars? A re-creation of the hanging gardens of Babylon?
It looks like the current options, short of actually being rational, are declaring a national emergency, stealing money from the Army Corps of Engineers or just going on like this forever. What’s your pick?
Bret: My guess is that he’ll declare a national emergency and allocate Pentagon funds for the border wall. That’s bad news for the country, precisely because it sets a precedent future presidents will abuse for their own partisan purposes. And it will alienate a lot of traditional Republicans, like Senator Marco Rubio, precisely for that reason.
But that won’t stop Trump, who isn’t exactly the sort of guy to worry about institutional precedents. He understands that if he folds on wall funding, his presidency is effectively over. It means he will have failed a test of strength against the despised Nancy Pelosi while betraying his core political promise. As when George H.W. Bush broke his campaign promise and raised taxes in 1990 as part of the budget agreement, it will be his “Read My Lips” moment.
But could I be wrong? Of course. Predicting what Trump will do is like trying to guess which way the goldfish swims next.
Gail: Since you’re presuming the president behaves irrationally, hard to say you’re wrong. My prediction would be that the whole thing winds up in court, creating endless litigation, screwing up the economy and making it impossible for Congress to do anything about anything else.
One of the many, many problems here is that the Democrats are just at the beginning of their presidential selection process, so you’ve got around 20 people waving their hands, none of whom have the stature to speak as the opposition. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are both very good at their jobs, but the talents you need to get a bunch of legislators to work together on a party agenda are not the talents you need to rally the country.
It’d be nice if we heard some Republicans speak out, but all we’re getting is Lindsey Graham scrambling to win the Best Boy award from the White House. Any signs of a more promising voice? I’m getting kinda tired of patting Jeff Flake on the back. Really, he’s gone.
Bret: Our new junior senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, seemed like he might be volunteering for the post of semi-courageous Republican with that op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post. I’m somewhat allergic to Romney because he’s such a transparently calculating politician. But I think he deserves support. The healthiest thing that can happen in 2020 — other than Donald Trump losing the presidency — is a Republican primary challenge to the president from someone like Romney or John Kasich, if only to serve as a reminder that not everyone on the political right has lost his mind. And, of course, we shouldn’t discount the possibility that Trump won’t be on the ballot next year.
Gail: Deeply, deeply cynical as I am about Mitt Romney, I would never argue that he wouldn’t be 10 times better a president. And while it’s true I once made fun of Romney’s dog, we have to remember that we now have the first president ever who has never had a pet in his entire life. That says something.
You know, we’re agreeing way too much. Let me ask you something that might spark a divide. We just had a story about the veterans’ hospitals and the conservative desire to move all the veterans out of the old system and into private hospitals. What do you think?
Bret: For it. The V.A. system has been a scandal-ridden mess for years, with endless stories about substandard medical and nursing care and scandals over hidden waiting lists. It’s one of the reasons Americans should be wary of ever embracing government-run health care as the norm. According to The Times’s own story, “private care could mean shorter waits, more choices and fewer requirements for co-pays.” The whole purpose of a V.A. system is to assure our vets the best possible care, not the worst.
I know there are arguments against it, including that it will threaten existing V.A. hospitals and strain the private system. Those arguments remind me a bit of the case against school choice. But the point is that we have these systems to help veterans (or students), and not to maintain the systems for their own sake. What do you think?
Gail: In a way it really is like school choice. It’s great when you have a lot of good oversight and citizens are getting more quality options. But we’ve seen examples — Betsy DeVos’s Michigan school privatization efforts come to mind — where all you do is replace deeply imperfect public schools with really terrible privately operated ones. Which cost more and protect the public less.
When it comes to things like health and education, privatization only works when you have excellent government monitors. And I am absolutely certain this administration will never find them.
Bret: I’m not against regulation, so long as it’s intended to prevent abuses rather than simply impose costs and restrict innovation. But I can’t think of many areas where the private sector doesn’t do a better job than government of providing a service, from delivering mail to running an airline to providing a better quality of education. This is a point I sometimes find myself making to Park Slope progressives who, for ideologically mysterious reasons, somehow wound up sending their kids to private schools like Poly Prep or St. Ann’s instead of their local public schools.
Gail: I’m generally fine with, say, giving parents the option of sending their kids to charter schools that have been carefully monitored for quality. But you need very serious oversight. There are too many examples of privatization leading to either lower quality or higher prices for me to be comfortable with just presuming that profit-making services are better than the ones the government offers.
And, of course, I’m totally uncomfortable if the folks doing the privatization are reporting to Donald Trump. Hey, I tried to find a non-Trumpian issue for us to discuss and he sneaked back in. Is there any place we can go where he won’t poke his orangy head?
Bret: Hmm. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia just voted to rename itself Republic of North Macedonia. Maybe that? Or, wait, the Osiris-Rex space probe is now orbiting the asteroid Bennu. Surely Trump doesn’t have strong views about our space probes.
Gail: Bet he thinks the Space Force could have done it better.
Bret: Ha! It really is astonishing how completely Trump infects everything. He’s like that guy with a bad flu, coughing and sneezing on a packed subway car. I consider it a point of pride that my first four columns of 2019 mention him only glancingly. I think we’d be serving our readers, and our profession, better if we resolved to try to write about him a lot less this year. Otherwise, as Frank Bruni pointed out in his latest column, we run the risk of becoming his accomplices in amplifying his voice when we should be trying to diminish it.
Gail: Frank was so right. But boy this guy is hard to ignore.
Bret: By the way, speaking of people who are sucking up a lot of media oxygen, can we discuss the freshman representative known to all by her initials, A.O.C.? Her habits of bending the truth to suit her ideological preconceptions and delight her base have an echo in you-know-who.
Gail: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is somebody I was prepared to leave alone for a while. I mean really, she’s 29, a neighborhood organizer who suddenly vaulted into Congress by defeating a very senior and stale member of the Democratic leadership. She deserves a little media vacuum while she’s adjusting. But she’s not going to get it and pretty clearly doesn’t want it anyway.
Still, I think you’re underestimating her. She did make some factual errors about military spending and she did bristle when the fact checkers came after her. But then she figured the whole thing out pretty quickly, and thanked the fact-checking community for their good work. That’s the furthest thing from Trumpian.
Bret: Fair point. And I’m mindful that she’s a rookie politician who’s bound to make rookie mistakes. Though what mainly bothers me aren’t her misstatements of fact but rather the unworkability of her proposals. The last person to try a 70 percent-plus tax on the rich was François Hollande, the one-term former president of France, and it quickly proved an economic and political fiasco. Is it too much to ask even a young politician to be aware of recent history?
This is a country that desperately needs to rediscover its center. Republicans abandoned it when they went with Trump, and I fear Democrats might be tempted to do the same by embracing the proposals of people like Ocasio-Cortez.
Gail: Well, it isn’t as if she’s proposing a coup. I say let all the Democrats run their ideas up the flagpole and see what happens. No fair muttering anything about ideas that flap in the breeze.
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凤凰心水论坛“【穆】【老】【您】【真】【是】【料】【事】【如】【神】，【可】【是】【在】【云】【天】【山】【像】【我】【这】【种】【身】【兼】【两】【种】【属】【性】【的】【人】【可】【多】【了】【去】【了】，【不】【知】【道】【穆】【老】【您】……” 【剩】【下】【没】【有】【说】【完】【的】【话】【意】【思】【很】【明】【显】【了】，【像】【我】【这】【种】【随】【便】【一】【把】【抓】【的】【人】，【是】【哪】【里】【引】【起】【了】【您】【的】【注】【意】【力】【的】【呢】？ 【沐】【清】【云】【有】【些】【担】【忧】【的】【是】【穆】【老】【看】【到】【的】【不】【止】【是】【这】【些】，【要】【是】【他】【能】【够】【看】【到】【她】【的】【真】【身】【的】【话】…… 【可】【是】【经】【过】【一】【来】【一】【回】【的】【套】【话】
【两】【人】【向】【着】【炎】【焱】【谷】【进】【发】，【随】【着】【一】【路】【向】【前】，【周】【围】【温】【度】【急】【剧】【攀】【升】，【此】【时】，【林】【琨】【才】【发】【现】，【他】【们】【降】【临】【太】【玄】【星】【之】【地】，【便】【是】【炎】【焱】【谷】【的】【正】【背】【面】，【整】【颗】【星】【球】【温】【度】【最】【低】【的】【区】【域】。 【忽】【然】，【有】【攻】【击】【自】【地】【下】【熔】【岩】【射】【出】，【来】【自】【一】【火】【焰】【凶】【兽】。 【此】【凶】【兽】【体】【型】【不】【大】，【只】【有】【一】【米】【高】，【浑】【身】【上】【下】【由】【岩】【浆】【构】【成】，【燃】【着】【火】【焰】。 【是】【一】【只】【弱】【小】【的】【没】【有】【灵】【智】【的】【凶】【兽】
【经】【过】“【漫】【长】”【的】【准】【备】，【新】【书】【开】【始】【在】【创】【世】【发】【布】，【在】q【阅】【读】【才】【能】【看】【到】。 【这】【是】【讲】【述】【一】【个】【逗】【比】【掌】【门】【带】【着】【一】【群】【欢】【乐】【的】【弟】【子】【装】【逼】【的】【故】【事】，【轻】【松】【诙】【谐】【搞】【笑】。 【老】【爹】【给】【了】【个】【系】【统】，【还】【要】【让】【我】【去】【继】【承】【强】【大】【的】【宗】【门】？【而】【且】【不】【发】【展】【成】【九】【星】【宗】【门】，【老】【爹】【老】【妈】【就】…… 【我】【能】【怎】【么】【办】？ 【忘】【记】【说】【了】，【我】【爹】【是】【灵】【帝】，【我】【妈】【是】【妖】【帝】。 【而】【我】……
【等】【到】【艾】【伦】【来】【到】【急】【诊】【室】【的】【时】【候】，【急】【诊】【室】【外】【的】【人】【看】【上】【去】【并】【不】【多】。 【走】【来】【走】【去】【的】，【大】【多】【都】【是】【护】【士】。 【在】【走】【廊】【上】，【站】【着】【一】【名】【风】【度】【翩】【翩】【的】【男】【子】。 【这】【会】，【他】【正】【站】【在】【窗】【口】，【望】【着】【窗】【外】【的】【风】【景】。 【年】【轻】【医】【生】【带】【着】【埃】【布】【伦】【医】【师】，【竟】【然】【直】【接】【走】【向】【了】【这】【名】【男】【子】。 “【教】【授】，【这】【位】【是】【巴】【莱】【特】【先】【生】，【是】【病】【人】【的】【丈】【夫】。” 【年】【轻】【医】【生】【给】【埃】凤凰心水论坛【众】【人】【思】【索】【了】【良】【久】，【也】【没】【想】【明】【白】【其】【中】【的】【原】【因】，【斯】【克】【利】【普】【斯】【抬】【起】【头】，【看】【着】【波】【利】【特】，【疑】【惑】【的】【问】【道】。 “【波】【利】【特】【老】【大】，【这】【其】【中】【难】【道】【真】【的】【有】【什】【么】【原】【因】【吗】，【通】【过】【现】【场】，【他】【们】【是】【怎】【么】【知】【道】，【这】【一】【切】【都】【是】【假】【的】【呢】，【这】【件】【事】【情】，【又】【假】【在】【哪】【里】【了】【呢】？” 【波】【利】【特】【闻】【言】，【点】【了】【点】【头】，“【其】【实】，【这】【件】【事】【也】【很】【简】【单】，【他】【们】【去】【的】【时】【候】，【刚】【到】【现】【场】，【其】
【对】【于】【四】【贝】【勒】【的】【打】【扰】，【让】【夕】【颜】【很】【头】【疼】，【真】【的】【很】【影】【响】【她】【修】【炼】【的】【进】【度】【啊】。 【看】【着】【眼】【前】【依】【旧】【喋】【喋】【不】【休】【的】【男】【人】，【夕】【颜】【直】【接】【拉】【着】【他】【的】【手】【进】【了】【空】【间】。 【让】【你】【烦】【我】，【吓】【死】【你】，【哼】！ 【四】【贝】【勒】【是】【真】【的】【被】【吓】【到】【了】，【你】【说】【刚】【刚】【还】【好】【好】【的】【在】【屋】【子】【里】【说】【话】【的】，【忽】【然】【眼】【前】【一】【黑】【直】【接】【来】【到】【了】【一】【个】【陌】【生】【的】【地】【方】，【这】【不】【是】【吓】【人】【嘛】。 【四】【贝】【勒】【报】【复】【性】【掐】【了】
【今】【天】【是】【放】【月】【假】【的】【日】【子】，【很】【多】【学】【生】【都】【会】【回】【宿】【舍】【拿】【一】【趟】【东】【西】，【不】【过】【也】【有】【直】【接】【回】【家】【的】。 【比】【如】【杨】【窕】，【比】【如】【杨】【小】【娜】。 【前】【者】【家】【里】【隔】【得】【近】，【没】【什】【么】【需】【要】【来】【回】【带】【的】，【后】【者】【是】【穷】，【除】【了】【身】【上】【的】【衣】【服】【更】【加】【没】【什】【么】【需】【要】【带】【的】【了】。 【两】【人】【本】【来】【是】【分】【开】【走】【的】，【结】【果】【走】【到】【校】【门】【口】【看】【到】【了】【阮】【家】【人】，【在】【原】【地】【思】【忖】【了】【一】【下】【就】【都】【走】【过】【来】，【杨】【美】【跟】【在】【杨】【窕】
【秋】【高】【气】【爽】，【叶】【随】【风】【落】，【操】【场】【里】【伴】【随】【着】【一】【片】【喧】【嚣】。 “【喂】？【喂】【喂】【喂】！【静】【一】【静】！【大】【家】【静】【一】【静】【听】【我】【说】。” 【只】【见】【一】【个】【梳】【着】【三】【七】【分】【发】【型】【的】【中】【年】【男】【人】，【严】【肃】【着】【一】【张】【脸】，【缓】【缓】【走】【上】【高】【台】，【拿】【起】【了】【话】【筒】，【喊】【道】。 【顿】【时】，【四】【下】【一】【片】【静】【谧】。 【大】【家】【都】【不】【约】【而】【同】【的】【抬】【头】【朝】【高】【台】【看】【去】，【眼】【里】【剩】【下】【的】【是】【茫】【然】，【也】【有】【少】【部】【分】【的】【撇】【嘴】【不】【以】【为】【然】