Monthly Archives: September 2019

U.S. v. Snowden v. Doe


As is often the case, it takes the intersection of two or more events to create that moment of illumination, that instance of clarity, when the seemingly irrational makes sense.  This past week the situations involve the protection and oversight of the United States intelligence apparatus involving a virtual menage a trois consisting of the government, Edward Snowden and an anonymous whistleblower.

Image result for permanent recordOn Tuesday, the United States government filed a civil lawsuit against Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor, to prevent him from profiting from sales of his memoir Permanent Record.  Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt issued the following statement upon filing the government’s claim.

Edward Snowden has violated an obligation he undertook to the United States when he signed agreements as part of his employment by the CIA and as an NSA contractor.

The United States’ ability to protect sensitive national security information depends on employees’ and contractors’ compliance with their non-disclosure agreements, including their pre-publication review obligations.

And she is correct as to the specifics of non-disclosure and pre-publication review.  According to a policy memorandum provided by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Security Service (CSS):

Pre-publication review is the process to determine that information proposed for public release contains no protected information and is consistent with established NSA/CSS, DOD, and IC policies.

Detailed procedures for review are provided in NCA/CSS Policy 1-30, including submission of the following information:

  • Title of Document
  • Document for review in its FULL and FINAL form.  (NSA/CSS emphasis)
  • Intended audience or publication venue.
  • Written approval for name use from all former and present NSA/CSS affiliates named in the material, if applicable.

So, why isn’t the title of today’s post simply U.S. v. Snowden.  Because the Intelligence Community Protection Act of 1998 and the Whistleblower Protection Act of 2012, which amend both the Central Intelligence Act of 1949 and the Inspector General Act of 1978, obligates those same employees and contractors “to report complaints or information to Congress about serious problems involving intelligence activities.”  And as we have been made aware this week, there are mandatory procedures for dealing with such complaints, as outlined on Wikipedia.

 An employee or contractor who intends to report to Congress a complaint or information of “urgent concern” involving an intelligence activity may report the complaint or information to the DOJ Office of the Inspector General. Within a 14-day period, the OIG must determine “whether the complaint or information appears credible,” and upon finding the information to be credible, thereafter transfer the information to the Attorney General who then submits the information to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Without judging whether Snowden was rightfully concerned about overreach by the intelligence community related to the collection of data on U.S. citizens, he elected not to follow the procedures provided under the law.  The publication of Permanent Record reopens the debate whether he actually had a choice in the matter.  In March 7, 2014 testimony before the European Parliament, Snowden defended his actions.

I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than 10 distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the U.S. government, I was not protected by U.S. whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.

Not everyone agrees with Snowden’s interpretation of the whistleblower statutes and executive directives. Then chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Dianne Feinstein rejected Snowden’s contention stating, “I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason.”

In an October 2015 interview on CNN, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton distinguished between Snowden’s concern about NSA programs and the method by which he raised the issue.

He broke the laws of the United States.  He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower. He could have raised all the issues that he has raised. And I think there would have been a positive response to that.

Legal experts suggest neither position is as clear-cut as one would hope.

Which brings me to John/Jane Doe, the third party in this hypothetical case.  Stories first in The Washington Post and then the New York Times and Wall Street Journal document the efforts of an anonymous member of the intelligence community to use the whistleblower statutes to raise his or her concerns Donald Trump took actions which may represent a threat to national security.  According to all three accounts, Doe followed the procedures provided by law, submitting a written complaint to Michael Atkinson, the inspector general in of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Within the 14 days provided under the statute, Atkinson determined the complaint was credible and of “urgent concern,” a statutory classification related to national security, violation of oath or corruption.  Atkinson then forwarded the complaint to acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, who by law “SHALL” forward the complaint to the House and Senate intelligence committees within seven days.  In an unprecedented action, Maguire conferred with the Department of Justice and White House legal counsel before refusing to comply with the mandated congressional submission.

Which brings us back to Edward Snowden.  Regardless of the language in the whistleblower statutes, Snowden had little faith he would be protected.  This concern is not unfounded.  According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, between 1990 and 2009, ten complaints were submitted to the respective inspector general of which four were found to be credible.  In three of these cases, the whistleblowers claimed they were subject to retaliation.  In 2006, acting inspector general at the Department of Defense Thomas Gimble testified before the House Committee on Government Reform, the 1998 act was “a misnomer.”  Michael German of the Brennan Center for Justice found the 1998 Act “provides a right to report internally but no remedy when that right is infringed.”

These deficiencies became the impetus for the 2012 legislation and President Obama’s subsequent executive directives.  Much of the ambiguity and inconsistencies in the whistleblower statutes have been addressed, and there is no question Maguire, DOJ and the White House are all failing to faithfully execute the law as required in their oaths of office.  Two days ago, Snowden told CBS News he is ready to return to the United States and defend his actions in court adding, “I’m not asking for a pass, What I’m asking for is a fair trial.”

Does a “fair trial” include calling Doe to the stand to testify about his/her experience which is evidence Snowden was correct his concerns might never have seen the light of day if he had followed the letter of the law?

For what it’s worth.



The King of Politics


Image result for the king of comedyAs some of you may already know, I co-host a monthly film series called “Cinema and Conversation” at our local book store.  Last night, I screened the 1983 Martin Scorsese movie, “The King of Comedy.”  It stars Robert De Niro as a wannabe stand-up comic Rupert Pupkin, who dreams of being on “The Jerry Langford Show,” the equivalent of a comic’s highly-sought breakthrough appearance on “The Tonight Show.”  Although favorably received by critics, it was a commercial failure, grossing only $2.5 million and it now ranks #6,644 on the all-time box office revenue list.

As I told last night’s attendees, you have to look at this movie from two perspectives.  First, it is a an example of how a talented filmmaker can turn a simple premise into a compelling theatrical experience through brilliant casting and understated directing.  At another level, “The King of Comedy” may be the most profound movie of the last 50 years, foretelling a future culture which did not exist when the film hit theaters in 1983.  Below the surface, “The King of Comedy” is a parable about a divided America in the Trump era.

This is not about Donald Trump’s self-serving interests, general character or policies.  You know how I feel about those.  This film explains why some of us view him as a villain and others see him as a hero.  When Pupkin (De Niro) gets a chance to share his dream with Langford (portrayed by Jerry Lewis), the talk show host gives him the following advice.

I know it’s a hackneyed expression, but it’s the truth, you’ve got to start from the bottom…It looks so simple to the viewer at home, those things that come so easily that are so relaxed and look like it’s a matter of just taking another breath.  It takes years and years and years of honing that and working that.

Pupkin’s response, “I don’t mean to interrupt you, but there’s a problem.  I’m 34 years old.”  Undeterred, Pupkin takes an unconventional, questionable path to getting his 15 minutes of fame.

Now close your eyes and visualize the same scene in my forthcoming remake, “The King of Politics.”  Trump shares his dream of becoming president of the United States with a former commander-in-chief (a hologram of Ronald Reagan) who advises him:

I know it’s a hackneyed expression that in America anyone can grow up to be president.  Look at me.  But it’s not that easy.  It’s not like anything you’ll ever experience.  But you can prepare yourself by first being a mayor or governor.  Or even president of the Screen Actors Guild.  It takes years and years and years to understand how government works.

Like Pupkin, Trump interrupts Reagan.  “But there’s just one problem, I’m 72 years old.”

I tip my hat to screenwriter Paul D. Zimmerman for virtually inking the script for my Trump bio-pic.  Why?  Because Trump IS a modern day Rupert Pupkin.  When Langford tries to exit the conversation with Pupkin, telling him to call his secretary, Pupkin mistakes the brush-off as encouragement.  When his phone calls are not returned, he goes to Langford’s office where the assistant (Shelley Hack) echoes her bosses admonition you do not start at the top.  The normal process is for the show to send a talent scout to watch you perform.  But Pupkin has never tested his material before a live audience.  To which the assistant replies:

As soon as you start working again, call and we’ll send someone down to check out your act.

Still believing he is destined to the be the new king of comedy without prior evidence of his talent or appeal, Pupkin goes on a journey of increasingly aberrant behavior to achieve his goal.  Sound familiar?

Like Pupkin, Trump is never dispirited by those who give him the cold shoulder or make jokes at his expense such as the ones delivered by President Obama and Seth Meyers at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.  It only hardens his resolve to succeed.  And as the reincarnation of De Niro’s character, he crafts an unconventional and increasingly unethical, if not illegal, campaign which gives him his more than 15 minutes in the national spotlight.

But I digress.  This post is not about Trump.  It is a simple and rational explanation for the chasm which divides his supporters and critics.  For 38-40 percent of the country, Trump as Pupkin is an improbable success story.  It is as film critic Scott McCauley suggests of the Scorsese version, “…a saga of start at the top grandiosity.”  Trump believes he deserves to be at the apex of the political world just as Pupkin sees himself as the new king in the realm of entertainment. And both Trump and Pupkin prove it by beating the odds.

As for the rest of us?  It is not as though we believe there is only one way to earn the keys to the White House.  That every candidate needs to pay their political dues before becoming chief executive of the United State. After all, I vaguely remember supporting a wet-behind-the-ears freshman senator named Barack Obama.  In his manifesto for governance, he self-described his mission as audacious.  The difference, of course, is in this latter case, Obama’s success was not fueled by foreign interference, paying off porn stars or promoting hate of others. Although Obama’s rise was accelerated, it did not rest on shortcuts.

SPOILER ALERT.  Scorsese’s portrait of an overachiever concludes at the protagonist’s moment of ultimate success.  But the last scene is perhaps a harbinger of things to come.  Pupkin is silent in front of his adoring fans.  Is he merely basking in the glow of his new-found notoriety?  Or was he a one trick pony?  Was his rise the story?  Will his audience grow tired of him if there is no second act?  The demo tape he makes is called, “The Best of Rupert Pupkin.” It is equivalent to an actor receiving an Oscar for lifetime achievement after his or her first cinematic role.

Stay tuned for the sequel, “The King of Politics: Part II,” coming to a theater near you next November.

For What it’s Worth.


A Moment in Time


During my final lecture at Miami University, I shared a series of moments in my life when I had a chance to interact with famous people in the fields of politics, entertainment and sports.  Each story began with the phrase, “I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to…”  The point was to encourage my students to look for and act on these opportunities as they are moments in time which make life interesting.  Most are happy memories.  Talking with James Earl Jones about how he approached a particular scene in “Field of Dreams.”  Facilitating a meeting between President Bill Clinton and Anatole Tshelov, chairman of the Association of Russian Governors.  An audience with Lee Kwan Yew, founder and first prime minister of Singapore.  Interviewing Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters for my high school newspaper.

And no matter how distant in time, these events rush to the forefront of my mind when one of the principals leaves us.  You may remember my writing about my 1976 encounter with Muhammad Ali upon his passing in 2016.  Forty-three years could never erase my excitement as a free-lance photographer to literally be in the ring with Ali and Howard Cossell during the weigh-in before his championship fight with Jimmy Young.

Image result for cokie robertsYesterday, sadly was one more occasion which brought back a rush of memories, the news that Cokie Roberts had died at age 75 of breast cancer.  So what is my connection in this case?  It begins on the evening of October 16, 1972 at Rockville (Maryland) Country Club, the venue for a rally and fundraiser for congressional candidate Joseph Anastasi.  As a member of the campaign staff, I had helped organize the event which included an appearance by former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey.

I was standing in the clubhouse entry awaiting Humphrey’s arrival when I was approached by an employee of the country club who asked me if Tommy Boggs was present as he had a phone call.  I found Tommy and showed him where he could take the call.  When Tommy finished the call, he told me he had to leave and asked me to apologize to everyone for his absence.

It was not until the next morning, we all learned the emergency which precipitated Tommy’s departure was the disappearance of a plane in Alaska carrying his father, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs and Alaska Representative Nick Begich.  The plane was never found and Boggs’ death was officially declared in December of that year.  Hale Boggs’ wife Lindy won a special election in March 1973 to replace her husband as U.S. representative from New Orleans, serving until January of 1991.

So what does this have to do with Cokie Roberts?  Cokie and Tommy were sister and brother, two of Hale and Lindy Boggs’ four children.  And as chance would have it, several years later I was scheduled to fly back to Washington, D.C. from Denver when the flight was delayed due to weather.  And in a synchronistic moment, Cokie Roberts. also on the flight, sat down across from me.  At first, I just wanted to tell her I was a fan and appreciated her reporting.  But she asked about my trip and we struck up a conversation.  It was then that I mentioned the circumstances in which I had a small part in the events surrounding her father’s disappearance.  She then informed me she had been the one to call Tommy that night.

We never crossed paths again, but each time she appeared on ABC News or I heard her reports on NPR, there was this sense of affinity, this moment in time, when two people were unexpectedly connected.  As Carl Jung reminds us, these unanticipated, random intersections occur all the time and are part of life’s narrative if only we are vigilant observers.  And they DO make life interesting.  So it is with a special sense of sadness I say farewell to Ms. Roberts but am thankful that I had the opportunity for a brief encounter with her.

For what it’s worth.


Four More Years?


While the media keeps hoping for “breakout moments” in the Democratic presidential debates, what I have not seen (since I refuse to watch) is the highlights only confirm my belief debates serve little or no value in helping us understand how any aspirant to the Oval Office will behave once there.  I hate to keep repeating myself, but debating is not in the executive job description.

Related imageA better test is to give candidates an issue or an opportunity and ask them to come back in 24 hours with their 10 minute address to the nation what they would do and why.  Or set up “moot White House,”  which presents candidates with a series of facts, asks them to analyze the available information and recommend a course of action.  Does that sound familiar?  Students at any medical, law or business school in America would recognize this as the “case teaching method,” a derivative of Socratic learning.

A student’s grade is not dependent on “the right answer.”  There are always multiple courses of action, each with pros and cons.  The test is one of process.  How well have students based their choice on reliable information?  What data points have they questioned?  How have they used the information?  And, sometimes, where is the information insufficient to make a rational choice?  The doctor orders another test.  The lawyer says find more evidence.  The CEO calls for additional market research.

When it comes to process, there is one thing we know about the current White House occupant.  He has none.  He ignores intelligence and acquits Vladimir Putin of attacking the country’s electoral process.  He is flattered by a Saudi crown prince and chooses not to pursue the murder of a U.S. resident.  Name a West Bank settlement “Trump Heights” and he backs Benjamin Netanyahu’s election eve promise to annex Palestinian territory along the Jordan River Valley.

The last thing America needs is four more years of haphazard policy making based on flattery, deference to donors or playing to one’s base.  Yesterday, we learned Donald Trump does not have a monopoly on this careless and indiscriminate approach.

Welcome to Dr. ESP’s class in government policy making.  Today’s teaching case involves an op-ed in the New York Times which previewed a forthcoming book by two of its reporters about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  In the article Sandra Garcia highlighted claims the FBI may have been restricted in pursuing leads of Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct in college including a previously unreported incident at Yale.  The following excerpt covers this latest allegation.

The authors also said they uncovered a second, previously unreported incident involving similar behavior by Mr. Kavanaugh at a different party in his freshman year.

The excerpt said that a classmate, Max Stier, who now runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about what he had witnessed but that the bureau did not investigate.

The excerpt cites two unnamed officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier, who has declined to discuss the episode publicly. Justice Kavanaugh has declined to answer questions about it, according to the excerpt.

Not unexpectedly, Trump tweets in defense of Justice Kavanaugh.

He is an innocent man who has been treated HORRIBLY. Such lies about him. They want to scare him into turning Liberal!

You are a candidate for the Democratic nomination to oppose Trump in 2020.  How do you respond to this incident?

In less than 24 hours we find what several of the potential nominees thought was the prudent course of action.

Elizabeth Warren on Twitter:
Last year the Kavanaugh nomination was rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him. Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.

Beto O’Rourke:
Yesterday, we learned of another accusation against Brett Kavanaugh—one we didn’t find out about before he was confirmed because the Senate forced the F.B.I. to rush its investigation to save his nomination. We know he lied under oath. He should be impeached.

Julian Castro on Twitter:
It’s more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath. He should be impeached and Congress should review the failure of the Department of Justice to properly investigate the matter.

Cory Booker on Twitter:
This new allegation and additional corroborating evidence adds to a long list of reasons why Brett Kavanaugh should not be a Supreme Court justice. I stand with survivors and countless other Americans in calling for impeachment proceedings to begin.

Kamala Harris on Twitter:
Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people.  He must be impeached.

Bernie Sanders on Twitter:
The revelations today confirm what we already knew: During his hearing, Kavanaugh faced credible accusations and likely lied to Congress. I support any appropriate constitutional mechanism to hold him accountable.

Statement from Pete Buttigieg:
It’s appalling to learn that the GOP curtailed the FBI investigation.  This was a Senate confirmation hearing controlled by the Republican majority for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.  The American people deserve to know who was involved in that and we must get answers fast as to why witnesses with key information were not interviewed.  Kavanaugh should resign and if he doesn’t, the House should impeach him.

In contrast,  Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden express concern but advise caution in jumping to conclusions.   Both call for further investigation without demanding impeachment.

Amy Klobuchar on ABC’s “This Week”:
I strongly oppose him, based on his views on executive power which will continue to haunt our country, as well as how he behaved, including the allegations that we are hearing more about today. My concern here is that the process was a sham. I don’t think you can look at impeachment hearings without getting the documents … and the attorney general is shielding documents.

Statement Issued by Joe Biden:
This weekend’s report in the New York Times raises again profoundly troubling questions about the integrity of the confirmation process that put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court in the first place…We must follow the evidence to wherever it leads.  Doing this the right way is critically important in getting the truth and restoring the American people’s faith in their government.

Teaching cases are usually written about events in the past.  Therefore, they include an epilogue which covers what the principals did at the time and the impact of their actions.  While it is too early to assess the impact of the Times report or the reactions, we do have information which might have been helpful at the time statements were being issues.  Late Sunday, the Times issued the following Editor’s Note to the original article:

An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book’s account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.

Critics of the Times article also point out Max Stier, the original source of the new allegation was a member of the legal team who defended Bill Clinton during his impeachment while Kavanaugh was part of Kenneth Starr’s investigation of Whitewater.  Neither of these facts prove or disprove the new allegations against Kavanaugh.  But they are relevant.

Let’s go back to my classroom.  Of the seven “students” above who called for resignation or impeachment, I would have expected either Biden or Klobuchar to ask, “On what factual information in this case are you making that determination?”  If they responded, “The Times article,” the next question should be, “How do know that it’s accurate?  The alleged victim is named.  Do you know what she said about the incident?    Wouldn’t you want to know? Aren’t you concerned she is not quoted in the article?”  And, “Is the source unreliable or biased?”

Which brings me back to the title of today’s post.  We certainly do not need four more years of Trump.  Neither do we need his Democratic replacement to mimic his decision process.  Reaction to real-time situations, not debates, tell us how candidates will govern not just how they campaign.  That is not to say I equate any of the “Kavanaugh Impeachment Seven” with Donald Trump.  But on this day, in this situation, they failed the test.  And we cannot afford four more years of seat of one’s pants, base-pleasing policies and actions regardless of who sits behind the Resolute Desk.  This could be the “breakout moment” we did not get in the debates.

For what it’s worth.


Serenity Now


Joe McGinniss showed America that politicians are sold like products.  And we loved it.

~David Greenberg, Politico Magazine, 2014

Image result for selling of the president 1968In The Selling of the President 1968, McGinniss documents how a team of media advisers used television to convince America there was a NEW Richard Nixon.  Among them was Harry Treleaven, a Madison Avenue guru who came up with “Nixon’s the ONE!” and devised a campaign strategy based on image, not issues which he claimed just bored voters.  And Roger Ailes, a relatively unknown local television producer in Cleveland, was responsible for the television spots which portrayed Nixon as the calm in the storm of Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, and the Chicago riots during the Democratic convention.

There is just one problem.  Money and PR can, as they say, “put a shine on a turd,” but it is still a turd.  And eventually the consumer recognizes that fact, and no amount of subsequent marketing can produce repeat purchases or referrals.

Dr. ESP, how can you say that? If you are correct, Nixon should not have won again in 1972.  True in theory, but that year both major parties offered their respective flawed candidates.  And as they also say, “Better the turd you know than the one you don’t know.”  And a few dirty tricks did not hurt Nixon’s cause.

I share this moment in political history because the analogy of candidate as product explains both Trump’s electoral college victory in 2016 and his inability to expand his base since then.  Consider the following business case I wrote during my tenure at Miami University based on a friend’s experience with a new product line.

In 1997, his company licensed the Chuck E. Cheese brand to produce and sell frozen foods in grocery stores, not unlike Boston Market or P. F. Chang.  He hired a marketing consultant to conduct mall intercept surveys of women who were observed shopping with children ages three through twelve, the target market for the branded items.  Seventy one percent of the respondents said they were extremely or very likely to purchase the product.

Initial sales exceeded projections.  However, there was an immediate drop-off, particularly in repeat purchases.  It was not the quality of the products.  Or ease of preparation.  The primary issue was family disruption.  Many parents reported older children had no interest in the product and often made fun of their little brothers and sisters.  You can just hear the sing-song teasing.  “The little baby has to have Chuck E. Cheese.”  The product could have been the best thing since sliced pizza, but it was still not worth the ensuing sibling altercations.

Is that not what the product called Donald Trump has done to America?  During the campaign, his mall intercepts with targeted consumers were arenas with supporters in MAGA caps.  But now he is constantly present in our homes, our extended families and our communities.  And the back and forth cacophony between supporters and resisters is the equivalent of sibling teasing.  It gets old very quickly and continues to irritate over time.

In the aftermath of every era of disruption, Americans yearn for a “return to normalcy,” a phrase coined in a 1920 speech by Warren G. Harding in response to World War I.  Some pundits refer to the recent decline in Trump’s approval rating as the result of “Trump fatigue,”  something it took the Bushes and Clintons decades to achieve.  Colorado Senator Mike Bennett even promised if he becomes president there could be weeks without our hearing from him.  He, like many of us, look forward to a day when we no longer need Frank Costanza’s relaxation cry “SERENITY NOW” as our mantra.

America may have been born by revolution, but it survives and grows through evolution.  Take Medicare for All as an example.  Some day America may have a national health system.  But not tomorrow.  Universal coverage is a worthy goal toward which we were making uneasy progress.  Less than a decade ago Republicans made repeal of the Affordable Care Act a winning campaign theme.  Today, a majority of voters support it.  Maybe we take the next step by adding a public option to reach those still without coverage.  I understand the arguments against the for-profit insurance industry.  But you do not change the world campaigning.  You change it when you govern.  And to govern, you must first get elected.

Which brings me to a final point.  Jill Biden was on the right track, but the way she raised the specter of her husband’s electability makes me wonder if she’s been spending too much time around Joe.  Last month in New Hampshire she urged voters to back her husband even if they consider another candidate to be “better” on the issues.  It would have been more appropriate to present a vision of the policy process in a Biden White House.

We have exceptional candidates running for the nomination and they have presented a range of ideas to improve the lives of every American.  And no one should expect them or their perspectives to disappear if they are not the nominee.  The difference is that when Joe is president, all of those same people will still have a voice.  Because we all agree on the goal whether we are talking about economic opportunity, social justice, health care, climate change or making our country and cities safe.  And Joe knows the way to get there is by bringing more people into the conversation.

Which brings me back to 1968 and Harry Treleaven who I believe misread what was happening.  Issues do not bore voters.  They care a lot about issues but in the abstract.  They want better schools for their children.  Or lower drug prices.  Or assurances they will still have their jobs.  They respond to the vision not to detailed solutions.  Take immigration as an example.  If you believe illegal immigrants are taking your jobs and terrorizing your neighborhoods, you do not care if Trump steals funds from projects that benefit service men and women to build his wall or that he inhumanely separates infants and children from their parents.

Tomorrow night, when 10 candidates again take the stage, they would be wise to play to the voters and not to the pundits who do not view the election with the same prism as the general electorate.  When asked about health care, I hope they remember you cannot make a case for any specific solution in 90 seconds.  Remind voters, those without insurance AND those currently insured, why universal coverage is important to both.  Whether the answer is ACA 2.0 or Medicate for All is not important.  All that matters is that today the financial burden of health care for the uninsured falls largely on subsidies embedded in premiums paid by the insured.  That’s not right and we will fix it.

Then use the four years we give you to convince us of the best way to get there.

For what it’s worth.