(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MAY 8, 2019) — THE PLANET presents a guest column by a media colleague. Besides the practicality of giving us a “day off,” the column also presents a pragmatic look at the 2020 presidential election. We welcome your comments.

———- ooo ———-



First published in The Washington Post

The 2020 election isn’t going to be close.

The first-quarter gross domestic product growth rate of 3.2 percent sets up the first reality that will be noted in November 2020 because it telegraphs where the economy will be then: not in recession. Recessions are charted when GDP growth is negative for two consecutive quarters or more. That can and has occurred in sudden fashion — financial panics don’t send “save the date” cards. But the economy over which President Trump is presiding is strong and getting stronger. Innovation is accelerating, not declining. A recession before Election Day looks less and less likely by the day.

Small wonder then that Trump dominates the GOP with an approval ratingabove 80 percent. His administration’s deregulatory push is accelerating. More and more rule-of-law judges, disinclined to accept bureaucrats’ excuses for overregulation, are being confirmed to the bench. Readiness levels in the U.S. military have been renewed. Our relationship with our strongest ally, Israel, is at its closest in decades.

Meanwhile, the Dems are facing a Hobbesian choice of Sens. Bernie Sanders or Kamala D. Harris, or former vice president Joe Biden. Sanders and Harris are too far to the left, Sanders by a lot. Biden is far past his best years. The nice folk lower down are looking for other rewards. The nomination going to someone such as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is possible, I suppose, but what happens when the dog chasing the car catches it? What was an entertaining and amusing aside suddenly becomes a commitment and, with that, well, comes a barrage of attacks. Where Trump deflects incoming with ease, the Democrats scatter, some limping away, some blown out of the picture.

This will come as news to #Resistance liberals, who are certain Trump will lose, because they dislike him so much. They still haven’t figured out that 40 percent of the country love him and at least another 10 percent are very much committed to considering the alternative in comparison to Trump, not reflexively voting against him. That decile is doing very well in this economy. Unemployment remains incredibly low. The markets are soaring. That’s not a given for the fall of 2020, but better to be soaring than falling 18 months out.

On immigration, border security has always been a legitimate concern (and Immigration and Customs Enforcement a legitimate agency). People don’t talk much about it as they decline to state anything that will earn them the label racist, but the reality of open borders is understood to be an unqualified disaster by most of the country, and most of the country understands the Democrats to be arguing for a de facto open-border system, if not a de jure one.

The Green New Deal sounds like a bad science-fair project where the smart kids got the colors to combine via an elaborate device and make all the “lava” flow black down the volcanoes’ sides and the village is destroyed. Medicare-for-all is a Professor Harold Hill production, headed for Iowa as was the Music Man. There’s not a lot of serious thinking or talking among the Ds about the People’s Republic of China and the “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea (which many may think is some sort of shorthand for their marks on the debate stage), or Huawei, which is just too complicated to try to debate in five-minute exchanges. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s turn as Madame Defarge may even wake up some of the wealthy-woke to their peril. It’s a circus coming to a cable-news network near you soon.

Last week’s message from a booming economy should have rocked the Democratic field. Alas, the party seems collectively intent on poring over the Mueller report yet again in the hope that, somehow, someway, there’s something there. But the probe is over. No collusion. No obstruction. Democrats have to campaign on something else besides a great economy, rising values of savings, low unemployment across every demographic, clarity about allies and enemies abroad, and a rebuilding military.

It’s a tough needle to thread, condemning everything about Trump except all that he has accomplished that President Barack Obama couldn’t or wouldn’t. Not just tough — it’s practically impossible.


“Covering Bob Cousy’s dribble is like trying to catch a yo-yo”Dick McGuire.



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  1. Reignbow
    May 7, 2019 at 7:28 pm #

    Wow, at some point I thought we were going to get the shaft,but the guest media is spot on, and I’m not for Trump,but the Biden candidacy? he’s showing signs of his age. It will be interesting to see if our friendly democrats don’t go all in to get Trump out,now that his Billion Dollar losses over a period of years and not paying taxes is their tipping point. From what I see of the Democrats,the candidates just plain suck. Time for another Kennedy?

  2. Jonathan Melle
    May 7, 2019 at 8:41 pm #

    News Flash! The Republican Party lost the U.S. House of Representatives after last year’s mid-term election. The U.S. Senate is up for grabs next year. Donald Trump’s political party is on its heels. The reason is Donald Trump’s poor leadership. Hillary Clinton lost the rust belt in 2016 by a small margin of votes. Trump is not automatically going to win reelection in 2020.

    – Jonathan Melle

    • UAlbany
      May 8, 2019 at 9:50 am #

      says Don Lemon disguised J. Melle…turn off CNN and watch Fox – the truth

    • ProxyDate
      May 9, 2019 at 3:33 am #

      Coming from a guy that not only got chased out of Pittsfield but chased outta MA by Nuciforo, I’m thinking your judgement and bonafides on predictions are way off.

      • Mr. Fritz
        May 9, 2019 at 3:46 am #


        • Jonathan Melle
          May 9, 2019 at 10:54 am #

          In accordance with Dan Valenti’s wishes, I am not allowed to comment on his blog in response to “ProxyDate”-‘s comment about being chased out of Pittsfield, MA by ________.

  3. Johnny Absurd
    May 8, 2019 at 12:01 am #

    If Donald starts another war in the mid east will that help him get reelected?

    My understanding is that Iran has cyber capabilities good enough to shut down our electrical grid and banking system and will use them if Donnie gets macho.

    Will be interesting to see if republicans are loyal enough to Donald to push their sons and daughters to fight in his war. But who knows, there may be a lot of heel spurs in his base so he may have to bring back the draft.

    • Brody Hooper
      May 8, 2019 at 3:29 pm #

      Matt enough Trump Derangement Syndrome. You claim about Iran is fake news. Cite your source

  4. GMHeller
    May 8, 2019 at 1:14 am #

    I’ve been telling people that Donald is looking at a landslide, 49 states — possibly 50!
    Thank you Barack Hussein Obama, Nancy Pelosi, AOC, Ilhan Abdullahi Omar and Jerrold Nadler!

  5. The school committee
    May 8, 2019 at 2:07 am #

    Most white men love Trump but most of America did not know him as a lover of North Korea and Russia.Most did not know him as the great liar to Americans. Most did not know how slippery he was as a young fake failure. Slick Donnie always calling the New York post to tell gossp media where he would eat.He was New York’s biggest ahole.

    • Johnny99
      May 8, 2019 at 3:58 am #

      Trump is, despite the dems, and many resistant republicans, is doing his best to make America great again, despite his own faults which I admit are many. And he is doing a pretty damn good job of it. Our borders are a joke and are immigration laws. We are the laughing stock of the world. There are now more jobs to fill than there are unemployed people because, partly because there are too many deadbeats sucking on the taxpayers nipple. The Democrats would start impeachment in a heartbeat if they had the votes in the House, but they don’t, and they won’t, and that they would do it, just so he wouldn’t win again, because there was no collusion, or obstruction, is as despicable as the deep state trying to screw him out of the election. For once, we have a true outsider elected president and The progressive wing nuts are apoplectic. Chunky, Granny Warren, Plastic Pelosi, Crooked Hillary, and Spartacus Booker make me want to vomit, as well as Kamela Harris and Uncle Joe, who recently mistook Theresa May for Margaret Thatcher, and was slurring his words biggly at his first campaign speech:

      And the stupid democrats wanted to remove Trump for being incompetent due to age?????

      If only little ole Pittsfield had a candidate such as Trump, instead of a battle between two feminist tax and spenders for mayor.

      • Thomas More
        May 8, 2019 at 6:19 am #

        What is the deep state?

        • Mr. Fritz
          May 8, 2019 at 10:36 am #

          Gotta mirror?

          • Thomas More
            May 9, 2019 at 6:24 am #

            No. Gotta spine you name calling jellyfish.

      • Pat
        May 8, 2019 at 12:40 pm #

        I agree Johnny99. The battle cry for Pittsfield needs to be “Let’s make Pittsfield Great Again”.

        Mazzeo and Tyer are unfortunately not up to the challenge. Neither one ever met a tax they didn’t like. Both are all about the far left Progressive agenda which takes precedence over actually solving the problems in the city.

        • danvalenti
          May 8, 2019 at 1:31 pm #

          The one who has the courage to reject the loon-left agenda of the Berkshire Dems will win the race. They both have organization, name recognition, and backing. The Suits won’t be able to contain a true break from the Progressive mob. Mazzeo is better poised as the challenger to do this. If she does it, she wins. If she doesn’t do it, she loses.

          • Pat
            May 8, 2019 at 1:47 pm #

            Locals have to figure out that letting this city get to this terrible place where it is now is actually part of the far left agenda. High crime, lack of an economy, a progressive attitude toward crime, schools that seem to have an agreement with local politicians that if they keep getting more money each year, they will return the favor by promoting the far left agenda in the schools.

          • Pat
            May 8, 2019 at 1:51 pm #

            High crime, a liberal attitude toward punishment for crimes, the lack of an economy, an out of control school system that seems to have an agreement with the local politicians for more money each year in return for promoting the far left agenda in the schools. Until all of this stops, the city will NEVER return to being a great place to live.

      • Chuck Vincelette
        May 8, 2019 at 4:42 pm #

        God that speech was awful and embarrassing to watch.

  6. The school committee
    May 8, 2019 at 2:15 am #

    America is still the most conservative country in the world with corporations and wealthy still keeping American people at a status far below the Corporatations and the Elite Wealth.The money thrown at brainwashing and scaring white men is working.

    • Reignbow
      May 8, 2019 at 4:29 am #

      Spot on S C. Does most of America hate Trump that much to vote for old Joe? Who is really backing him?

  7. Pat
    May 8, 2019 at 4:21 am #

    Our economy is booming. Jobs for all who want one. People can now have the confidence to leave jobs they don’t like to find another one, except for Pittsfield, which struggles no matter what the rest of the country is doing because of our poor leadership here.

    To try to take this booming economy and say we need to turn into a socialist country like Venezuela is INSANITY. That is the main message of the far left. Freebies for all in exchange for big government lording it over us. A socialist utopia just like it started out in Venezuela and has ended so badly. I truly hope that Americans are smart enough to realize just how stupid the ideas are that are coming from the far left.

  8. Reignbow
    May 8, 2019 at 4:31 am #

    Pittsfield Venezuela,I like it Pat.

  9. Mr. Fritz
    May 8, 2019 at 4:35 am #

    Trump will, and deserves to win by a landslide. I still believe the Dems will parade out Hickenlooper further along in the campaign, and he will be the nominee as ordained by the globalists. Biden, with his Ukraine scandal, touchy/feely behavior and moronic statements doesn’t have a chance despite what the “polls” are claiming. These same polls told us Hillary had the election in the bag.
    Trump has set the country back on the path to greatness, and he is unbeatable.
    Surely there are some conservatives left in Berkshire County to run for local elected offices? Where the hell is the Republican Party??

    • Thomas More
      May 8, 2019 at 6:22 am #

      Why don’t you run?

      • Mr. Fritz
        May 8, 2019 at 10:29 am #

        Moving to Springfield area…..can’t wait.

        • Pat
          May 8, 2019 at 12:47 pm #

          Springfield has far more conservative and independent voters than this area. It’s now safer than the Berkshires. They have the Holyoke Mall nearby and lots more choices of restaurants.

          • Shakes
            May 9, 2019 at 5:44 am #

            Yes, most people base their home decisions on the best malls and choices between 99 and Applebee’s.

          • Trump Train
            May 9, 2019 at 2:57 pm #

            No Shakes, we base it on where our job is located. Unfortunately, not many here in Pittsfield.

          • Shakes
            May 10, 2019 at 6:14 am #

            Pittsfield and the greater Berkshires have a huge jobs-skills mismatch.

  10. Still wondering
    May 8, 2019 at 5:43 am #

    2020 will be a comfortable win for Trump. The similarities with 1984 and 1956 are undeniable.

  11. The school committee
    May 8, 2019 at 6:46 am #

    The verbal violence against teachers in Herberg continues. Mccandless and Yon will soon release a new philosophy ti address behaviors outside of the current 100% tolerance of verbal abuse to classroom teachers.In many cases these kids are in charge at home.

    • Spagirl
      May 8, 2019 at 12:33 pm #

      The school committee
      You are right when you say the delinquents need to be removed from Herberg. They need to be separated from the population.

  12. The school committee
    May 8, 2019 at 6:48 am #

    Rich businessmen who are failures dont pay taxes.Trump is the number one failure in the USA.

  13. The school committee
    May 8, 2019 at 7:53 am #

    State retirements need to reflect Social Security checks

  14. Jonathan Melle
    May 8, 2019 at 12:15 pm #

    Russia wants Donald Trump to win reelection!

  15. The school committee
    May 8, 2019 at 12:17 pm #

    The question Trump voters hate,Is SS socialism?

    • Acute Angina
      May 8, 2019 at 3:03 pm #

      You truly are clueless. You don’t have any idea of what socialism is.

    • Trump Train
      May 9, 2019 at 3:01 pm #

      No, it’s just another example of a poorly managed government program.

  16. Jonathan Melle
    May 8, 2019 at 12:32 pm #

    On Friday, May 9th, 2019, Trump’s tariffs on China will go into effect. That means American consumers will be paying higher prices soon. Trump cut taxes for the billionaires, while the masses will get hit with higher prices due to his tariffs on China.

    • Pat
      May 8, 2019 at 12:49 pm #

      So many love the tariffs on China, Jonathan. Even your own very liberal Chuck Schumer is singing the praises of what President Trump is doing with China.

      • danvalenti
        May 8, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

        I dislike tariffs. They restrict free trade and penalize consumers.

        • Pat
          May 8, 2019 at 1:38 pm #

          You may be right Dan. I do think that China has been taking advantage of us over the years, but I’m not sure if this is the right way to go. Schumer’s support of the China tariffs may even be suspect as he could be encouraging President Trump on something that he knows will be bad for the country in the long term which would make President Trump look bad in the long term. Since so many politicians are playing political games and not actually looking out for the good of the country, you have to look at it from every angle.

      • Jonathan Melle
        May 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm #

        I thought the Republican Party was the party of free trade? I find it ironic that Russia is Trump’s friend, while China is Trump’s trade adversary!

        What is the long-term plan with China? They are the biggest foreign owners of our huge national debt! Republican tax cuts and 21st Century wars were all paid for with China’s credit. Will Trump default on our nation’s trillion dollars of debts to the Chinese central bank, but try to keep the tax cuts? It won’t work! Trump is leading us into a future economic crisis with China. The Republican Party can’t scam China forever to pay for the tax cuts and wars! Something has to give.

        – Jonathan Melle

        • Trump Train
          May 8, 2019 at 3:53 pm #


          You have no business sense. If you owe banks a small amount, they own you. If you owe the banks a huge amount, you own them. Trump leveraged this fact in his business dealings.

          The same principle applies on a country level. Stop making comments on things you have no clue about.

          Stick to praising Mayor Tyer.

    • Trump Train
      May 8, 2019 at 3:48 pm #

      If you know anything about negotiating, you have to be willing to call the bluff and stand firm. Unfortunately the globalists in both parties are free traders, and gave away the country and our resources.

      President Trump wants fair trade. I am confident there will be a fair deal after the Chinese have suffered a little bit. In the short term hold off on buying something if prices are higher. You will survive. A tariff is not a tax unless you choose to pay it.

    • Chuck Vincelette
      May 8, 2019 at 4:49 pm #

      Hi Jonathan
      Just curious about what path we should take in dealing with China? What would you suggest?

      • Jonathan Melle
        May 8, 2019 at 6:26 pm #

        China is the world’s 2nd largest economy. China is building a financial system that in the future will rival Wall Street. The only two countries who oppose China’s financial or investment banking system are Japan and the United States. That is because Wall Street would have to compete with China’s financial system, and it would cut into our nation’s GDP.

        The Bush II administration cut taxes 3 times from 2001 – 2009. The Trump administration cut taxes 1 time so far. In the past +18-years, Republicans have cut taxes 4 times. The national debt skyrocketed to over $22-trillion. The U.S. government borrowed over $1 trillion dollars from China, which means that China and other foreign countries paid for our country’s 4 tax cuts.

        Now, Trump is putting tariffs on China in the name of fair trade. The Republicans know that part of their deal with China was to allow them to have huge trade surpluses with the U.S.A. if China would lend them over a trillion dollars in funds to pay for their 4 tax cuts over the past 18 years.

        Bush II and Trump administrations made their tax cut and borrowing deals with China, and now Trump is changing the terms of the deal. But, it won’t work because we need China’s credit and trade for our country’s economic growth.

        China’s version of “Wall Street” or its financial/banking system will force our country to adapt to the new global economy. Trump’s protectionism won’t stop China from building their financial system, but it will hurt our country’s economy.

        What I would suggest? As is it all about China’s new financial system more than trade, I would develop a way for Wall Street to find new ways to invest in the global economy. If our country can’t compete with China’s financial system in the future, we will not grow our country’s economy. Protectionism and tariffs never worked, and they won’t work with China now!

        – Jonathan Melle

      • Fugimoto Hockalugi
        May 8, 2019 at 7:21 pm #

        Chuck, be sure that your china is dish washer safe

  17. Edward R. Murrow
    May 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm #

    1. Way too early to declare victory for anyone in 2020. Hubris, in fact.

    2. Remember how popular Bush 41 was at this point in 1991 right after Gulf War I? How’d he do in 1992?

    3. Economy/stock market can tank at any time. And Soros can tank it at any time, such as September 2008. Very convenient for the Dems. McCain was leading the polls on Labor Day.

    4. What the hell does “Hobbesian choice” mean? Have you ever read Hobbes?

    But, yes, Dems appear to be in huge trouble. They need a more “moderate” governor, preferably from the South, like Billy Bob Clinton.

    Biden and Bernie too old. Beto’s got nothing but funky body and hand motions. Mayor Pete is, well, a mayor, of not even a very big city. Wa?

    Lizzy Warren is just too weird looking and sounding, plus she’s a hypocrite. And she’s done exactly what for us out here?

    We’ve already had what Booker is.

    Possibly Kamala Harris, but we haven’t seen much of her.

    • Johnny99
      May 9, 2019 at 6:04 am #


      I agree wholeheartedly that it’s way too early to call the race. A dark horse may emerge last minute on the dem side to save the party that can’t seem to nominate an electable mainstream candidate. Such a person could beat Trump, but ya gotta give Trump an A for effort, along with his A+ for showmanship. At least he is trying to MAGA. The border mess alone and his efforts to fix it should get him re-elected.

  18. Reignbow
    May 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm #

    Look for Democrats to put on a full court press with impeachment. Nadler is all in.

  19. Gigi
    May 8, 2019 at 2:36 pm #

    The idiots on the House Judiciary Committee voted today to hold AG Barr in contempt of Congress for not releasing the full Mueller report. Federal law prohibits the release of Grand Jury testimony & evidence when no indictment has been charged. They want our AG to break federal law!

  20. Gigi
    May 8, 2019 at 2:39 pm #

    The Dems want AG Barr gone – because he is investigating the abuse of power at the Justice Dept. and FBI.

    • Pat
      May 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm #

      I agree Gigi. These corrupt Dems want to sweep away what led up to the Mueller investigation of President Trump. They could care less about the Russian collusion….it was all about getting President Trump……….how anyone could vote for these people again is beyond me. They need Barr gone because he is a threat to their keeping their political spying and other nefarious activities out of the public eye.

  21. Rita Beggerfields
    May 8, 2019 at 4:59 pm #

    Pretty sad when people leave Palookaville for Springfield,that says it all.

    • Thomas More
      May 9, 2019 at 6:38 am #

      Seems The Planet has become the conduit for the conservative publications that Gigi has doing her thinking for her.

  22. Johnny Absurd
    May 9, 2019 at 1:30 am #

    A bunch of the Red Sox are not going to the white house. They should be kicked off the team and out of the country. Right Pat?

    • Pat
      May 9, 2019 at 4:54 am #

      It’s a free country, at least for now, where people can think what they want. Of course some of them would think that way, they are from very liberal Boston where lots of brainwashing has taken place against President Trump.

      • Johnny Absurd
        May 9, 2019 at 8:43 am #

        Funny you should say that Pat. Cuz it seems that none of the white guys got brainwashed…mostly the south Americans and Puerto Ricans. I wunner why that is. Maybe Trump can put all their kids in cages and teach them a lesson.

    • Brody Hooper
      May 9, 2019 at 4:52 pm #

      Nice try Matt. Embrace it our economy is thriving

  23. The school committee
    May 9, 2019 at 1:31 am #

    Being a social lib and a financial conservative there’s but one way to handle money and that is not to owe 21 trillion in debt.Our money flows to the wealthy and that is where you get the cash to pay the debt of 21 trillion.It is insane to give wealthy people cash borrowed from our grandchildren.

  24. The school committee
    May 9, 2019 at 4:30 am #

    Now that violence in middle school is under the direction of Mayor Tyer and Moon at the DAs office I’m satisfied.If Pittsfield cant get the streets swept and painted you can only imagine how well Taconic high school is being maintained.

  25. The school committee
    May 9, 2019 at 5:01 am #

    The snow removal budget was under bugeted by 25%.I want people on SS at 1300 a month the mayor is going to take more of your check.

  26. Johnny99
    May 9, 2019 at 6:31 am #

    Uneffinbelievableble. On so many levels.

    • Trump Train
      May 9, 2019 at 12:03 pm #

      They knew the gym was smaller going in. Why didn’t they keep the old gymnasium? And build the new school with a connection to it?

      • Reignbow
        May 9, 2019 at 12:32 pm #

        R U kidding, and find another gym connector cost? They didn’t know how to spend a million dollar donation from Larry?

        So the driver that killed the guy on Plastics Ave area claims he didn’t know what he hit. Wow, this sounds vaguely familiar don’t you Think?

        • Trump Train
          May 10, 2019 at 6:31 am #

          If I wasn’t clear, they could have kept the old gym, either attached new school to it or constructed a connector to it.

  27. The school committee
    May 9, 2019 at 2:28 pm #

    As I stated months ago ,you can’t run a school sitting in your office.Part of the job interview should be can you walk your building all day?

  28. Merry & Bright
    May 9, 2019 at 3:49 pm #

    So Taconic High students can’t graduate at their brand new school because it is too small! Unfrigginbelievable! Then McCanass fails to secure Tanglewood! He and Lady Boots must have had too much caffeine at Dotties and forget to take care of graduation plans. As a taxpayer I feel hopeless with the situation in Pittsfield along with so many of my hardworking friends and family. Who designed this school? Why did the Mayor and School Committee approve it? Who is responsible for this mess?Currently the Taconic Baseball Team does not even have a home field, they can’t practice in the gym because it is too small. Students say that the old vocational shops were equipped much better than the new ones. Why? I feel Mayor Vibrant Dynamic Tyer and Jason McCanass owe the hardworking over taxed residents a public explanation as to this mess up. Now graduation is at the Boy’s and Girls Club and isn’t it really convenient that the parking garage that many could have parked in is now ripped down and their is very little parking available on North Street. Our City has turned into a major clusterpuck! Hope our Mayor, City Council, Police Chief and School Committee are proud of themselves! So pathetically sad!

  29. Reignbow
    May 9, 2019 at 4:07 pm #

    I know it’s redundant, but, you can’t make it up.

  30. Reignbow
    May 9, 2019 at 4:25 pm #

    Maybe they can hold a pay per view at the beeCon.The Stooge can get the word out on his morning student programming show. Charge a buck a head….kick a buck. Or maybe,hold-it at the
    PEDA site, maybe they could ask The Planet if he could get the General to be a guest speaker!

  31. The school committee
    May 9, 2019 at 6:28 pm #

    Pittsfield should be a number 1 rated reality show.Mazzeo wins just because her questions she’d truth on Pittsfield constant state of a coverup.