M.D. Harmon has made great display of his elastic patriotism in his Dec. 16 column. He’s entirely comfortable with the idea of a foreign despot influencing American elections to the advantage of his candidate, but would be fuming about treason if the shoe were on the other foot: Lenin’s “useful idiots” were evidently nondenominational.

It’s quite true that the new Republican administration will now get the chance to roll back progressive initiatives. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

All the bluster in the world won’t stop the seas from rising: Conservative calculations seem to be that poor brown people overseas will bear the brunt of that, at least until it’s our children’s problem.

There’ll be a chance to repeal Obamacare, but options are limited there, too: Americans seem to like the idea of affordable health care and dislike the denial of health care on the basis of pre-existing conditions.

There’s also the question of how far back Mr. Harmon would like to unwind progressive initiatives. Republicans have reproductive rights and the Voting Rights Act in their sights, so we are back to the mid-1960s at least.

That’s not surprising. It’s hard to say which is more threatening to modern right-wingers – a woman making decisions about her own body or a black person making decisions at a ballot box. (If you can’t persuade people of color to vote for you, then best to make sure that they can’t vote at all.) Further back than that, who knows?

Mr. Harmon had better be careful, though. He may find that many of the laws passed by those awful progressives remain pretty popular, even among Republican voters – those involving clean air, minimum wages, Medicare and Social Security, for example. Smug hubris often leads to a bad fall.

Scott MacEachern

Portland