Other View: Democrats Drift Far Left of Obama

Other View: Democrats Drift Far Left of Obama

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A late 2018 Gallup poll determined the most popular couple in the United States. The honor goes to former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. The former president has a 95% approval rating among Democrats. By every measure, Obama is the Democratic Party’s most beloved and successful figure since John F. Kennedy.

If the Democratic Party were in touch with ordinary Americans, its mainstream candidates for president would honor Obama’s legacy. They would promise more of what he did. That did not happen during Wednesday’s 10-person debate.

Incredibly, they threw Obama under the bus. He is just too far right for this bunch.

The Obama bashing came during an immigration spat about open borders and children in border cages built by the Obama administration. And, yes, that claim is true. Ask the left-leaning fact-check site, Snopes:

“Claim: The Obama administration, not the Trump administration, built the cages that hold many immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Rating: “True”

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, a long-time friend of The Gazette’s editorial board, stood up to hard-left candidates who want to decriminalize illegal border crossings. Bennet said he opposes open borders, but supports a pathway to citizenship and deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA).

Soon thereafter, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio went straight after Obama. He repeatedly tried to corner Joe Biden, Obama’s vice president, with the former president’s immigration policies. Did Biden, de Blasio demanded, try to stop Obama from enacting millions of deportations that outnumber those under Trump’s watch.

“Did you use your power to stop those deportations?” de Blasio asked. “Did you say they’re a good idea or is this a mistake and we shouldn’t do it?”

Biden declined to reveal what he said to Obama in private.

Few Americans, even in New York, take de Blasio seriously. If it were just him, no big thing. It wasn’t. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker quickly piled on at Obama’s expense.

“Mr. vice president, you can’t have it both ways. You invoke Obama more than anyone in this campaign,” Booker said to Biden.

Other Democrats stayed quiet, leaving Obama as a target of derision second only to Trump. It highlights for all Americans the radical nature of the majority of primary candidates. It tells them this is not the party of Obama.

The debate consisted of Bennet; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, of Texas; Booker; Biden; Harris; New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; and de Blasio.

The schism between mainstream Democrats and the radical left emerged first during Wednesday’s health care segment, when Biden and Bennet challenged the viability of a health care giveaway proposed by Harris.

“It doesn’t make sense to take insurance from people in this room and raise taxes on” the middle class, Bennet said.

Harris told Bennet her plan takes no individual’s insurance. It merely separates health care from the employer, she explained, liberating Americans from jobs they don’t like.

Bennet and Biden continued reminding Harris her plan would cost $30 trillion to implement, imposing a substantial tax increase on the middle class.

Other far-left platforms included Yang’s pandering promise to give each American $1,000 a month for life if they make him president. Candidates promised to eliminate fossil fuels immediately to stop global warming. Even Biden promised to eliminate fossil fuels by phasing them out during his presidency.

Inslee balked at Biden’s pledge, declaring we have no time to phase them out. Visualize life without fossil fuels immediately after the 2020 election. No one could charge electric cars.

Post-debate polls may show a bump for Bennet, who hadn’t topped 1% in the polls before the debate. He had a breakout moment, leading to robust applause, when he spoke about education — a neglected topic Americans care about.

“This is the fourth debate and the second time that we have been debating 50 years ago with busing when our schools are as segregated today as they were 50 years ago,” said Bennet, the former superintendent of Denver public schools. “We need a conversation about what’s happening now. And when there’s a group of kids in this country that doesn’t get preschool through no fault of their own and another group does, equal is not equal.

“And we’ve got a group of K-12 schools that are good because families can spend a million bucks. And you’ve got the Detroit public schools that are as segregated as they were, equal is not equal.

“And let me tell you something else ... I believe you can draw a straight line from slavery through Jim Crow through the banking to the redlining to the mass incarceration we were talking about on this stage a few minutes ago. But you know what other line I can draw? Eighty-eight percent of the people in our prisons dropped out of high school. Let’s fix our school system and maybe we can fix the prison pipeline that we have.”

Bennet distinguished himself throughout the debate as a voice of reason and reality in a bastion of socialists gone rad.

It is hard to imagine the Democratic Party moving so far left of Obama, former President Bill Clinton and FDR. It is harder to imagine average Americans electing any of the party’s leading, socialistic candidates. They are too extreme and doctrinaire.



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Idaho’s structure of electing governors and LG’s completely separately — different from many states which bind them together — allows for the office holders to come from different points of view.

For future historians and artists who'll chronicle today's health and economic crisis, one humble item will stand out as the chief cultural emblem of the times: wearing a mask. Or not.

A small outbreak of coronavirus at a Fry Foods plant in Weiser gives a prime example of the importance of testing for COVID-19. More than that, it represents a warning shot across the bow of potential pitfalls if we don’t reopen our economy the right way.

As we tiptoe through Stage 2 of Gov. Brad Little’s phased reopening plan and approach a more robust Stage 3, it’s going to become even more important that we take the necessary steps to prevent future outbreaks.

And there will be future outbreaks.

The fact remains that the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is still out there. It’s ready to strike again, and without a vaccine, it remains a potentially destructive and fatal disease.

Aggressive and quick testing remains one of the key elements — perhaps the most important element — of controlling outbreaks at this point.

Fry Foods offers an early case study.

The Weiser food processing plant employs 260 people to make onion rings and other food products. It shut down earlier this month when at least seven employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

Fry Foods initially didn’t test all 260 employees at the Weiser facility — only the 50 or 60 who likely came in contact with the employees who tested positive. Other employees were able to get tested on their own.

The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (state run-laboratories) tested all that they had the capacity to do in one day, according to Kelly Petroff, director of communications for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The state lab can do about has a testing capacity of approximately 200 tests per day.

“We are not prepared to handle this,” Doug Wold, human resources manager for Fry Foods, told the Idaho Statesman, referring to the lack of coordinated response. “If you don’t have an employer who’s willing to be proactive, we’re just going to fail.”

Fortunately, Crush the Curve Idaho, a private, business-led initiative established during the outbreak to increase testing, stepped in and tested every employee at Fry Foods.

By Tuesday of this week, 20 employees — about 8% of the plant’s workforce — had tested positive for the coronavirus, along with at least two of their family members. Nearly all were asymptomatic.


That’s what needs to happen: rapid-response testing. If you have an outbreak at your workplace, get everyone tested. For those who test positive, keep them home and isolated. For those who test negative, they can keep on working and you’re back in business.

When the outbreak hit Fry Foods, company officials made the decision to shut the plant down.

Without adequate testing, that’s unfortunately the right thing to do. Without testing, you have no idea whether you have seven infected employees, 70 or 270.

We applaud Fry Foods company officials for making the tough call to shut down, even though they were given the green light by the Southwest District Health Department to resume operations.

Coronavirus is stealthy. A person can carry coronavirus longer without symptoms, potentially spreading to others unwittingly. Some people who carry coronavirus have no symptoms at all.

We are encouraged that Crush the Curve Idaho stepped up and stepped in here.

But Idaho needs a more concerted and organized plan to do rapid-response testing.

We are a fragmented health system. Health providers include Saint Alphonsus, St. Luke’s, Primary Health, Saltzer, among others. Then think about all the entities who pay for health care: Blue Cross of Idaho, Regence BlueShield, PacificSource, SelectHealth, etc. Throw in Medicare, Medicaid and those who are uninsured.

Even our own government health management system is fragmented, with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and seven independent health districts not operated by the state.

And, in the case of Fry Foods, situated in a city bordering Oregon, workers were from two states.


No wonder Fry Foods officials were at a loss for where to turn for help. Without some sort of coordinated effort to test all employees and somehow pay for those tests, shutting down the plant was the best option.

It’s worth noting that the Fry Foods employee who initially had coronavirus was at a family gathering of a larger number than outlined in the governor’s reopening plan and was with visitors from out of state, two violations of the governor’s guidelines. That’s why we have the guidelines, and that’s why it’s important to follow the guidelines. Otherwise, this is what you get: an outbreak that shuts down an entire food manufacturing plant.

Unfortunately, shutting down operations every time there’s an outbreak is not going to get the job done.

And there will be more outbreaks as we reopen our economy, reopen factories and workplaces.

Idaho has a lot to be optimistic about, and we have a golden opportunity to lead the nation in reopening our economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. We have had relatively few cases (around 2,300) and few deaths (77). Our early efforts to shut down parts of our social interactions and Little’s quick call to issue a statewide stay-home order clearly have paid off. Idahoans’ adherence to the stay-home order has helped to flatten the curve and control the number of new cases. Residents and businesses, alike, have done their part to make this happen.

Our hope is that Idaho can chug along through the stages of reopening. Our fear is that if we don’t do this the right way, we’ll have a surge and we’ll be back to a statewide stay-home order. Nobody wants that.

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