Category Archives: Campaign Notes

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – back on your heads edition

You know the old joke – guy dies and goes to Hell. The Devil tells him he has to spend all eternity in one of three rooms, and that he’ll let him look and decide.

Guy looks in the first room – hundreds of thousands of people all standing on their heads. Faces bulging, eyes distended, blood running from their noses. It suddenly becomes clear to the guy why being crucified upside down was considered to be a horrendous punishment.

He opens the door to the second room – same thing.  The guy slams the door shut and hesitantly reaches for the third door. This huge room is different – the hundreds of thousands of people are standing knee-deep in human excrement, drinking coffee. The guy thinks – “Well, I guess after a while you can’t even smell the shit any more, and I do love coffee.”

He wades in, gets a cup, and joins the throng.  After a minute, the Devil pokes his head in and says: “Coffee break’s over – back on your heads”.

My coffee break is over.

And with that – the .01% solution!

Trump—“We’ll build a wall along Colorado…”
WE ^ | 10/24/2019 | WE

Posted on 10/24/2019, 10:40:56 AM by mikelets456

President Trump said that in addition to border wall construction in New Mexico and Texas, “We’re building a wall in Colorado.”

Speaking in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the Shale Insight Conference on Wednesday, Trump appeared to flub his geography when it comes to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico, and we’re building a wall in Colorado. We’re building a beautiful wall. A big one that really works, that you can’t get over, you can’t get under. And we’re building a wall in Texas,” Trump said. “We’re not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls we just mentioned.”

1 posted on 10/24/2019, 10:40:56 AM by mikelets456
The Freeperati are divided on this one:
To: mikelets456
Who gave him some of Joe Biden’s special loco tea?
I think Nevada could use a western wall though 😀 

4 posted on 10/24/2019, 10:43:56 AM by z3n

To: mikelets456

Drudge has been trying to make this a story for two days now, so thanks for bringing it over hereThe Human Scum in DeeCee have been trying to set DJT and his family up with phony charges since 11/8/16. The man is allowed an occasional slip of the tongue as he battles for us each and every day.

12 posted on 10/24/2019, 10:49:34 AM by JonPreston
Good old “Max Americana” weighs in :
To: imardmd1
I’ve been advocating landmines since I joined 2 decades ago but some limp-wristed Freepers thought Im too rightwing for this forum.. 

18 posted on 10/24/2019, 10:59:55 AM by max americana (Fired ONE libtard at work at every election since 2008 because I enjoy it. I hope every lib die.)

I am SO tempted to doxx this piece of shit – but I would never reveal that he’s a Supervisor at the Oakhurst Chamber Of Commerce.
And finally –
To: Swordmaker
“In context, this was a humorous remark, but, then these people have no sense of humor. Trump was pointing out that a border wall was a wall around each state to keep out crime and protect the citizens of those particular states. He was not being literal about building a wall around Colorado.”
Who knows? Maybe you are right. Perhaps 0.1% see this as a sophisticated 3D chess move. Until he explains it as such the rest of the country will be laughing at him. 

26 posted on 10/24/2019, 11:09:54 AM by plain talk

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This post has been brought to you by the letter “Duh, motherfucker”.
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More after the you-know-what…

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Mystery Train

Train In The Snow by Claude Monet.

I had a head cold this week so I’m going to keep this introduction terse and, uh, heady. If nothing else, I want to prove that I’m capable of brevity. I gave the world a straight line when I called my bi-weekly Bayou Brief column, 13th Ward Rambler. As Captain Beefheart would surely say at this point, Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop.

This week’s theme song was written by bluesman Junior Parker in 1953. He cribbed some lyrics from the Carter Family’s Worried Man Blues, which, in turn, borrowed from an old Celtic folk song. That’s American music in a nutshell, y’all.  In 1973, Robbie Robertson added some lyrics to The Band’s version of this classic locomotive tune.

We have three versions of Mystery Train for your listening pleasure: Junior Parker, Elvis Presley, and The Band.

In case you were worried, man, here’s the Carter Family with some hillbilly lagniappe:

Now that I’ve worried you half to death, let’s jump to the break.

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The Case Of The Missing Coattails & Other Tales

The scattered off-year election returns largely confirmed what happened in 2018. Suburban voters are dubious of Donald Trump and prepared to vote Democratic. The MSM and some Democrats, however, remain afraid of the Trump base despite all evidence to the contrary. As Michael F wrote yesterday, the MSM has been going to the wrong diners.

I know nothing about local politics in the Philadelphia suburbs. I do know what it means when voters expel Republicans from power in favor of Democrats. They’re tired of the farce that is the party of Trump. They voted to send out the clowns as did voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

It’s time to slice this post into segments like an orange. It may involve some navel gazing but what’s a bit of navel gazing among friends?

Bluegrass State Goober Race Goes Blue: Tuesday’s most delightful upset took place in Bourbon country where Democrats restored the Beshear dynasty to power. Adding to the pleasure was the Insult Comedian’s election eve rally where he attempted to make the race about him and impeachment. His man, Governor Matt Bevin, lost.

Trump’s sycophants then claimed that Bevin was trailing badly until their dear leader intervened. Another lie: the race was as tight as a tick in all the polls. I guess Trump forgot to pack his coattails. He’s a terrible surrogate, he spends most of the time talking about his favorite subject, himself.

It’s unclear what Bevin’s next move will be. The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not seem to be set up for successful recounts or challenges, but Bevin is whining like a stuck pig about the injustice of it all.

A reminder that Bevin was extraordinarily unpopular with voters, especially in suburban communities across the river from Cincinnati. I have a fairly conservative friend from Kentucky who calls Bevin, Governor Prick.

Then there’s the McConnell factor. The Turtle and Bevin are strange political bedfellows. Bevin primaried Moscow Mitch in 2014 thereby setting the stage for his victory the next year. I’m not sure how far the Turtle is willing to stick his neck out for Bevin since his own numbers are low. Stay tuned.

Whither The Gret Stet Goober Race: President* Pennywise brought his tail-less coat to Monroe, Louisiana to campaign for fake outsider Eddie Rispone. I wish Gret Stet Democrats had had the same reaction as their Bluegrass counterparts: defiance in the face of Trumper provocation. Instead there was whimpering among the tweeting classes who are convinced the incumbent Blue Dog Goober, John Bel Edwards, will lose badly.

There’s no evidence that Rispone has rolled to a big lead, in fact, the race remains as tight as a tick. I’m going to ride that Ratherism until it limps.

I’m on the record as being a clothespin Edwards supporter but all Rispone has to offer is vague promises of a Trumpier future with the reality of a return to the failed policies of Bobby Jindal. No, thanks.

A final reminder that, while Trump rallies may rev up his base, they should have the same effect on his opponents. The Emperor not only has no clothes, he has no coattails.

Who The Hell Is Afraid Of Mike Bloomberg? Not me. He’s running because he’s afraid of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Sure, he’s richer than God but Democratic primary voters are unlikely to look favorably on a guy who went from Democrat to Republican to Independent back to Democrat, Make up your plutocratic mind, dude.

New York City Mayors do not have a distinguished track record as presidential candidates. Remember Presidents Lindsay, Giuliani, or DeBlasio? Me neither.

Of greater concern is Bloomberg switching back to independent for a vanity run that would help his former constituent, the Insult Comedian. Stay tuned.

The Alabama Comeback Kid?  Pinhead former Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants his old Senate seat back. President* Pennywise is not amused and seems poised to oppose Sessions. The most likely benefactor of this scrum is the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent, Doug Jones.

Run, Jeff, run.

Finally, the Insult Comedian plans to attend the epic LSU-Alabama game tomorrow in Tuscaloosa. There was a brief flap over the Bama student body president threatening students who boo the First Boor, but he walked that back.  Free speech, academic freedom, and all that shit.

LSU has lost 8 straight to Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide but I’m cautiously optimistic about the game. Good luck to Ed Orgeron and his charges. I plan to yell myself hoarse tomorrow, which means I’ll sound like Coach O by halftime. Btw, he’s supporting Edwards for Governor. A Tiger win could be a good omen for the Gret Stet Goober run-off. I expect the game to be as tight as a tick.

Quote Of The Day: FDR Edition

I’m annoyed by all the Democrats who urge timidity upon our candidates. Some of those who came politically of age during and after the Reagan era are afraid of their own shadows but they’re wrong. The one-two “punch”  of George W. Bush and Donald Trump has shattered the Reagan coalition. We’re on the cusp of a new era and the future belongs to the bold.

The Warren candidacy has the greedheads of Wall Street and Silicon Valley reacting with a bizarre combination of terror and fury. But there’s nothing in Senator Warren’s political portfolio that would be unfamiliar to pre-Reagan era Democrats. I have one in mind, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. who said this in 1936:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.

Repeat after me: the future belongs to the bold. And the bold are not spooked by one poll a year before the election.

Why I Didn’t Watch The CNN Debate

The Tweeter Tube was jam packed with complaints about last night’s Democratic presidential debate. Some were shocked that it was set up to maximize conflict and drama. I was not. It was one reason I did not watch.

For many years, CNN has packaged debates as if they were reality shows. Reality shows require conflict and drama to hold the audience’s interest. While that might be true of a debate as well, that’s not what the candidates are there for. Their goal is to get their message out. That’s hard to do when the moderators want the candidates to comment on the other guy’s message.

A three-hour long debate with twelve candidates is simply too long and overcrowded. It’s aimed at filling time on CNN, not informing the voters. It’s also cruel and unusual punishment to force candidates to go that long without a pee break.

I don’t know about you but I’m fine with never hearing from Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Tulsi Gabbard again. The two rich guys have no chance of being nominated and the Congresscritter from Hawaii sounds like she’s planning to run as an independent apologist for the Assad regime. The other candidates are viable until they’re not. Someone else is bound to drop out some time soon.

The biggest problem I have with the MSM focus on debates is two-fold. First, they have nothing to with governing. Normal presidents make important decisions in conjunction with advisers and experts. Second, debates don’t matter in the long run. It’s more important whether a candidate has a strong message and a good organization in the early states. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were dominant in their general election debates but lost.

I may watch the next time around but if Tulsi is there gabbing, in the immortal words of movie mogul Sam Goldwyn, “include me out.”

Mark Sanford Hikes The Appalachian Comeback Trail

It’s getting crowded and confused on the campaign trail. As the Democratic presidential field narrows, the Republican field expands. The latest entrant is former Palmetto State Governor and Congressman Mark Sanford. He’s best known for two things: an embarrassing sex scandal as Governor and losing a primary to a Trumper last year.

Sanford is challenging the Kaiser of Chaos from the right. Even though he voted for the Trump-Ryan tax scam, he’s running as a fiscal conservative. Perhaps he’ll branch out and discuss the other disasters wrought by Team Trump but right now Sanford is lost in the fog of scandal.

Exploding the budget deficit strikes me as one of the lesser Trump scandals. It’s what Republican presidents have done since Reagan: cut taxes, explode the deficit, then try to shred the social safety. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

Sanford’s fellow former “Freedom Caucus” member, Justin Amash, has cited Trumpian gloating after Sanford’s defeat as a decisive factor in his departure from the GOP. The Insult Comedian is not a gracious winner.

A reminder of  Sanford’s hilarious 2009 sex scandal. He went missing as Governor. While he was holed up in Argentina, his aides claimed that he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” He was exposed as a liar, resigned as Governor, was divorced by his wife, and married his Argentine lover. One would think the Insult Comedian would identify with a liar and a cheat but apparently not.

The lame Appalachian Trail excuse was in the news again the other day. Without a hint of irony or self-awareness, Trump has taken to mocking Sanford for it but he’s easily confused: the other day he called it the “Tallahassee Trail.” There is no such thing and anyone who hikes in Florida’s capital city in the summer is apt to get heat stroke. Holy trail mix-up, Batman.

If Sanford had a sense of humor, one of his campaign planks would be to save the Appalachian Trail from the Trump regime and the oil companies. It’s under attack and needs all the help it can get.

There are now three primary challengers to the Current Occupant: Sanford, the Other Joe Walsh, and Bill Weld. The more the merrier. If one of the cable networks schedules a GOP debate, it’s easy to imagine Trump impulsively deciding to participate thereby violating the iron clad rule that incumbent presidents do not debate intra-party challengers because it elevates them. His handlers would be wise to place him in a straitjacket so he won’t accept. It’s where he belongs anyway.

In other campaign news, the Democrats are debating on ABC tonight. I’m undecided as to whether I want to watch. I might have better things to do but if I don’t, I’ll file an instant analysis post.

That’s all, folks.

Jay Inslee Is Out, The Other Joe Walsh Is In

Regular readers will recall that I used this image of Harold Lloyd in Safety Last to count down the 2018 mid-terms. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

Since American democracy is hanging by a thread as long as President* Pennywise is in office, it seemed fitting to re-purpose it for 2020. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of the presidential race.

OUTS: Jay Inslee exited the race with the same class, grace, and substance that he entered it. His focus on the crucial issue of climate change made a positive impact and prodded the leaders of the pack to respond. He was always my favorite among the no-hopers. I’m glad he’ll be running for re-election for Governor of Washington state.

Seth Moulton pulled out after I wrote the post title. His impact was minimal. It struck me as a vanity campaign, which like that of Tim Ryan was essentially an extended fuck you to Speaker Pelosi. He can return to the Hill to annoy Nancy Smash. My hunch is that he’ll be joined by Ryan sooner as opposed to later.

The presidential race knocked the former Governor of Colorado for a Hickenlooper so he exited. He just declared his candidacy to challenge the most vulnerable Senate GOPer, Corey Gardner, thereby morphing from a political minnow to a whale.

The last word of the segment goes to Stephen Stills and Manassas, which is in Virginia but the song is about Hickenlooper’s home state. Go figure:

INS: The Other Joe Walsh came to our attention as an unhinged Tea Party Republican. He served one term in the House before losing to Tammy Duckworth who is now the junior Senator from Illinois. Walsh is a strident opponent of Barack Obama turned strident opponent of Donald Trump. His twitter feed is highly entertaining.

The Other Joe Walsh is on the verge of entering the presidential race where he’ll join Bill Weld as a GOP no-hoper. I still think Weld will do fairly well in New Hampshire but I welcome anyone who’s willing take on Trump from the right. Thus far, the Never Trump Republicans have been all talk, no action.

I like what Slate’s Jim Newell wrote about the GOP “race” in The Surge:

Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford, Jeff Flake, John Kasich

Let’s get slaughtered and be legends.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re cheating by lumping four candidates together. But (a) the greatest trick the Surge ever pulled was convincing you there were rules, and (b) each of these four Republicans considering a primary challenge to President Donald Trump amounts to roughly ¼ of a legitimate presidential contender, so the math checks out. As the Washington Post reported this week, “the anti-Trump movement inside the Republican Party—long a political wasteland—is feeling new urgency to mount a credible opposition to Trump before it’s too late.” This “movement,” which appears to be the usual gang of Bill Kristol and a couple of his interns, has been displeased with the lack of enthusiasm out there for the existing Republican primary challenger, boring patrician Bill Weld, and is working the phones for a new candidate to also elicit zero enthusiasm. The idea is that only one of them should run to unify the anti-Trump conservatives. Much like Weld, though, this idea is boring and makes the primary challenge easier for Trump to ignore. All of them should get in, and there should be televised Republican primary debates, tempting Trump to participate.

The Insult Comedian loves shooting off his big fat bazoo and showing off his “very good brain” so that’s actually a possibility. Run, Republicans, run.

The last word goes to the Real Joe Walsh:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Seal Of Disapproval edition

Well, folks – pigs have flown, Hell has frozen over, and the twelfth of Never has come.

I agree with the Freeperati on something.

Unless you stopped breathing early last week or live in a cave you already know about this :

How did Trump end up in front of a presidential seal doctored to include a Russian symbol?
Washington Post via MSN ^ | 7/25/19 | Michael Brice-Saddler, Reis Thebault

Posted on 7/25/2019, 5:24:31 AM by DoodleDawg

At first glance, there was nothing unusual about President Trump’s introduction Tuesday at Turning Point USA’s student summit. In many ways, it mirrored the production style that has become synonymous with Trump’s campaign rallies.

Following a 12-minute video illustrating Trump’s rise to the presidency, music blared as the president’s name flashed across a giant screen in a bold shade of red. Trump took the stage and soaked in the raucous cheers from hundreds of young supporters packed inside the Marriott Marquis in Washington.

Charlie Kirk, Turning Point’s outspoken founder and executive director, was on his left. But the image on the screen to Trump’s right — captured in dozens of photos and videos from the event — is less familiar.

The image almost resembles the official seal of the president; but a closer examination reveals alterations that seem to poke fun at the president’s golfing penchant and accusations that he has ties to Russia. Neither the White House nor Turning Point know how it got there or who created it.

1 posted on 7/25/2019, 5:24:31 AM by DoodleDawg
Usually, the Freeperati react to this kind of thing (mockery) with threats to kill the mocker.
Right?
To: DoodleDawg

 

Someone went through some effort, can’t believe that it’s not easy to find out who as that’s the kind of thing that’s usually shared on social media.

The Russian double headed eagle and holding golf clubs in one talon. I assume that the president’s advance team has learned a lesson that should have been learned about 3 years ago – control all the digital displays while POTUS is in the room.

As far as pranks go, pretty harmless. Yuck it up and move on.

4 posted on 7/25/2019, 5:49:13 AM by kingu (Everything starts with slashing the size and scope of the federal government.)

JawDrop
To: Albion Wilde

 

Gotta admit it … that’s pretty clever and well executed.

6 posted on 7/25/2019, 5:49:49 AM by al_c (Democrats: Party over Common Sense)

To: yesthatjallen

 

Have to admit – the golf clubs were pretty funny.

7 posted on 7/25/2019, 3:09:37 PM by TomServo

To: yesthatjallen

 

I really have to give props to whoever thought of that and pulled it off. Grudging admiration.

Kind of like the Chinese signs behind Nixon that Dick Tuck pulled off.

Worth stealing.

16 posted on 7/25/2019, 3:25:58 PM by RedStateRocker (We had entirely enough government in 1789.)

To: winner3000

 

And we’d be laughing our butts off here if a similar thing had been done to a Democrat(sic) President.

42 posted on 7/25/2019, 4:06:37 PM by RedStateRocker (We had entirely enough government in 1789.)

To: Innovative

 

I thought it was well done … and funny.

50 posted on 7/25/2019, 4:20:19 PM by sparklite2 (Don’t mind me. I’m just a contrarian.)

One helpful suggestion :
To: I want the USA back
It was clearly deliberate.The people at Turning Point USA were infiltrated.

It seems people at TPUSA let their guard down and this creep had free reign and no oversight.

On a side note, I’d consider changing the name. While TP stands for Turning Point it’s also an abbreviation for toilet paper.

12 posted on 7/25/2019, 3:18:28 PM by yesthatjallen
And your point is ?
.
More below, yo ho!

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Tweets Of The Day: Who’s The Real Kook?

People had a lot of fun with new age sage burner Marianne Williamson last night. I was too annoyed by her presence to pile on BUT it’s unclear if she’s actually kookier than the Current Occupant.

The first tweet comes from ethics guy Robert Maguire:

The second entry is a couplet from my friend Gambit editor Kevin Allman:

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read Kevin’s book but I dig writers who are into self-quotation. I hope he’s not following in my footsteps on the road to perdition.

Suzan Morninglory is a swell name for a character based on Marianne Williamson. It means that the last word goes to Oasis who pose the eternal question: (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?

 

 

Instant Analysis: Cattle Call Debate Act Two

I hate these large joint appearances: that’s why I call them cattle calls. There are too many candidates talking at once and too many bodies on stage. Why were a one note guy like Andrew Yang and a second rate new age guru type like Marianne Williamson allowed on the same stage as the real candidates? I hope we don’t see them again. It’s a waste of the voters time and it’s as annoying as hell.

Speaking of annoying, Chuck Todd is a windy nitwit. I was astonished that he didn’t tweak his performance after the first night’s debacle. He kept asking the “reply in one word” questions that never work in this setting. Give it a rest, Chuck.

The second round was more contentious than the first. The Democratic base was fed more raw meat, which is okay for casual observers but I find it unappetizing. It’s early so I’d rather get to know the serious candidates as opposed to hearing how much they hate Trump. That’s a given.

Unlike the first night, there was a clear winner. The envelope please:

Harris: The junior Senator from California showed that she hasn’t lost her chops as a trial lawyer despite years as an administrator. She ignored the clock and kept talking but in such an authoritative way that she got away with it.

The best moment of the debate was when she went after Biden. He effectively told her to get off his lawn. She declined the invitation.

I think Harris has finally found her groove. I’ve long thought she should embrace her inner prosecutor. We have a criminal president* why not a prosecutor as his opponent?

There was much talk on social media of how Harris would mop the floor with Trump in a debate. Repeat after me: Hillary and Kerry kicked ass in their debates and lost. Debates are a sideshow.

Biden: He was terrible. I wasn’t surprised that he rambled but didn’t expect him to come off as angry. Harris really pushed his buttons and threw him off his game. He needs to get back to being avuncular Uncle Joe or his candidacy will start circling the bowl sooner than expected.

Another reason I think Biden won’t be the nominee is that his staff was backstabbing him DURING the debate. It’s not how winning campaigns operate. It’s starting to look like 1988 all over again.

Sanders: In a word: angry. I’m not sure that the country wants someone who is stylistically similar to the Current Occupant. They’re both shouty old white guys with heavy New York accents.

Buttigieg: I don’t get the Mayor Pete craze. He leaves me cold. I think his troubles back home will eventually tank his campaign. At least he didn’t start speaking Norwegian. I would have thrown something at the teevee if he had.

Gillibrand: I thought she might break through but she was almost as annoying as Chuck Todd. She’s been a good senator. She should stick to her current job.

Swallwell: “People try to put us down. Talking ’bout my generation.”

Bennet: In a word: erratic. The stuff about his family fleeing Nazi persecution was excellent but the rest was a mish-mash. I dig his bushy eyebrows though. They have a life of their own.

I still don’t understand why he’s running against longtime ally John Hickenlooper. Perhaps he thinks he has a better chance because his name is shorter.

Hickenlooper: Despite a record of progressive reform as Colorado Governor, he’s running as an anti-socialist capitalist or something. He should drop out and run for the Senate against Cory Gardner who is the most vulnerable Republican up in 2020.

Yang: Holy one issue candidate, Batman.

Williamson: She should go rub a crystal.

Here are words I never thought I’d write, the last word goes to Eddy Arnold:

On Joe Biden’s Civility Fetish

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one thing Joe Biden has in common with Donald Trump is a fatal inability to STFU. The former Veep has a tendency to trip over his tongue every time he talks about civility. One might even call him a Lost Civility Causer.

This time Biden took it way too far:

As evidence of his ability to forge personal bonds, the former vice president pointed to his 36-year career in the Senate, which stretched back to 1973 and overlapped with the service of leading Southern Democrats. Biden cited the late senators James O. Eastland (Miss.) and Herman E. Talmadge (Ga.), who were steadfastly opposed to civil rights and racial integration.

“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said at the fundraiser, where he was introduced by Eric Mindich, an investment manager and former Goldman Sachs partner.

The Democratic presidential candidate, who has led his competitors in early polls of the crowded nominating contest, briefly impersonated the southern drawl of the Mississippi cotton planter, lawyer and lawmaker. “He never called me ‘boy,’ ” Biden said. “He always called me ‘son.’ ”

Biden’s campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment about why it would be notable that the Dixiecrat — who thought black Americans belonged to an “inferior race” and warned that integration would cause “mongrelization” — didn’t call Biden “boy,” a racial epithet deployed against black men.

The garrulous gaffe machine also invoked the name of former Georgia Senator and Governor Herman Talmadge who was a second generation race baiting segregationist.

Even with Talmadge — “one of the meanest guys I ever knew” — Biden noted, “at least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done.”

Biden cited two of the worst Dixiecrats who remained in the Senate during his early years. There were other segregationists such as John Stennis and Russell Long who changed with the times and were never as overtly racist or hateful as Eastland and Talmadge. Biden might as well have cited Strom Thurmond.

I’ll never forget a story that went around the Hill about Eastland. The Senate threw a reception for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during one of his visits when Carter was president. Eastland took one look at Sadat and said in a loud stage whisper: “Why, I believe the president is a nigra.” He stepped out of the reception line so he wouldn’t have to shake Sadat’s hand. I guess Biden would say of that story, “at least he called him a nigra, not the other n word.” Civility, try it, you’ll like it.

Do I think Joe Biden is a racist? Absolutely not. Do I think he needs to think before he speaks? Absolutely. He seems bound and determined to talk his way out of the Democratic nomination. Another reason I support Elizabeth Warren.

Repeat after me, Joe:

Joe Biden Says The Darndest Things

Joe Biden is the early frontrunner in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. The Insult Comedian has given Biden a boost by allowing him to take up residency in the presidential* head. It’s turning into a 21st century version of Being John Malkovich. I’m only surprised that Trump hasn’t tried selling him a condo located somewhere in the dark recesses of his “very good brain.” Perhaps it should be a stall since the president* is a “very stable genius.”

Biden’s strength as a candidate thus far have been his frontal attacks on the Current Occupant. He may, however, have to explain to Donald what “existential threat” means. I don’t think Trump has even heard of Sartre and Camus let alone read them, He should try: Sartre’s No Exit sums up how I feel about our political system under Trump. We’re trapped in a hell made by 46% of the voters in 2016. Thanks, you stupid motherfuckers.

Biden has long been known for his gaffes. I’m not quite sure if the comment cited below by Sam Stein qualifies but it gave me indigestion when I saw it:

I hope that Biden is pandering to the widespread yearning for a return to what Gamaliel called normalcy and Adrastos calls normality. It’s been a long time since Congressional Republicans worked with Democrats for the common good. As Obama’s Veep, Biden should know better. Instead, he’s showing signs of advanced inside the beltway disease.

It’s way too early for Biden to pursue a general election strategy. Early frontrunners have a way of losing as I pointed out in a recent post, Memories Of The Muskie Administration. Biden should consult with 2004 frontrunner Howard Dean while he’s at it.

Biden continues to send mixed messages. On the one hand, he’s ready, willing, and eager to do battle with Trump. On the other hand, he’s nostalgic for an era of political goodwill that didn’t really exist. This is why I support Elizabeth Warren. She’s fighter looking to the future, not the past. We may have to change Biden’s First Draft nickname from Joey the Shark to Joey the Dinosaur.

The last word goes to Todd Rundgren and Utopia:

Adrastos: Elizabeth Warren For President

Photo via the Center For Public Integrity.

I’ve been on the fence about 2020. I find myself at risk of getting splinters so it’s time to dismount and take a stand. I decided to put my pen name in the post title so y’all wouldn’t think this was *the* First Draft position when it’s mine, all mine. Besides, who among us doesn’t like their name in lights? Bright lights, big city and all that rot.

I’ve been closely following the early stages of the primary race. The field of 23 may be unwieldy but it shows the strength of the Democratic party. It’s an impressive group but one candidate has impressed me more than the rest: Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Warren checks all the boxes for me. She’s smart, tough, experienced, an excellent speaker, a good retail politician, and, most importantly, she knows *why* she wants to be president and *what* she’ll do if elected. The ability to govern should be higher on the list of things Democrats want from our next nominee.

Warren’s economic policy chops are deservedly celebrated. I’d like to discuss some of her other ideas. There are two of particular interest to me. First, she favors the abolition of the electoral college. Second, she wants to enact a law to establish the principle that a sitting president can be indicted. The current situation has resulted in the Current Occupant believing that he can violate the law with impunity. That must stop. No American should be above the law.

I’ve urged our readers to take the time to read the Mueller Report. Elizabeth Warren has done so. She came to the conclusion that Trump has committed crimes and must be punished. Thanks to the damn fool DOJ rule, impeachment is the only sanction available. It’s not an entirely satisfactory solution as it’s merely an invitation to the Senate to remove a president. But it’s the only arrow in the quiver right now. Senator Warren understands that we must fire it regardless of the consequences. As I argued last week, it could be politically ruinous for Democrats to fail to act. Courage is required. As the first presidential candidate to come out for impeachment, Elizabeth Warren has shown that she won’t run from this fight.

The reason it took me so long to support her candidacy was the way Team Warren botched the ancestry question. They should have kept it simple. Family stories have a way of not being true. That’s what happened with Warren’s belief that she had Native American ancestry. It was an old family story that turned out to be wrong. Everyone I’ve ever met from Oklahoma is convinced that they have Native American blood; some do, most don’t.

The Democratic nominee in 2020 must be tough and a fighter. Elizabeth Warren has those qualities as well as an unique ability to explain complex issues in terms that people understand. She’s a Senator who does not speak Senatorese.

There’s a palpable feeling among Democrats that our next nominee should NOT be a white male. Women have led the resistance and, along with people of color, spurred Democrats on to victory in the midterms. It’s their turn to lead the party. Senator Warren has the right stuff to withstand the brutal and dishonest assault that the Trumpers will mount against any Democrat in the next general election. They’ve already come after her and she’s still standing.

There’s a long way to go and anything can happen. I will support whoever the Democratic party nominates but I hope that it’s Elizabeth Warren. I believe she’s the right person to lead us out of the wilderness and clean up the mess made by the Trump regime.

My admiration for Elizabeth Warren exploded on the day Mitch McConnell tried to bully her into silence on the Senate floor. To this day, his words ring in my ears: “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

That’s what we need in our next president, someone who will persist regardless of the odds. Repeat after me: Elizabeth Warren has the right stuff.

Malaka Of The Week: Meghan McCain

I haven’t given much thought to Meghan McCain over the years. I try not to aim my fire at the children of famous people. Besides, while she’s as annoying as hell, she’s not as interesting as she thinks she is. John McCain was glory, Meghan is reflected glory and I try not to kick down. The mouthy Ms. McCain made that impossible this week when she lectured Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar about what she’s allowed to say on the campaign trail. And that is why Meghan McCain is malaka of the week.

I’ve enjoyed McCain’s occasional critiques of the Insult Comedian but she was outraged when Klobuchar told a story about Senator McCain’s distaste for the president*:

Speaking before an audience of roughly 200 people during a Saturday campaign stop in Des Moines, Klobuchar described Trump’s inauguration as “dark” and recalled how she sat on the stage between John McCain and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that day while Trump delivered a speech about rampant crime, rusted-out factories and “American carnage.” The fiery populist rhetoric apparently reminded McCain of various authoritarian figures from throughout history.

“John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation. He understood it,” Klobuchar said on Saturday, according to NBC News. “He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did.”

Emulating the Current Occupant, Ms. McCain took to the tweeter tube to vent:

Who died and made Meghan McCain god? She’s said worse things about Trump herself. The idea of taking a two-time candidate “out of presidential politics” is absurd as well as the essence of malakatude.

Klobuchar has declined to apologize for a story she told about her friend and colleague. Wise choice. Responding to hissy fits from an entitled princess could turn into a full time job. She’s already obliged to pick and choose which idiotic Trump tweet to respond to, after all.

Meghan McCain sees herself as the keeper of the flame. I get it. But that doesn’t entitle her to censor the words of her father’s former colleagues, some of whom are running for president. It’s a democracy, not a monarchy and she would be wise not to emulate the Trump spawn with scorched earth defenses of her late father. Donald Trump can’t take a punch, John McCain could. She should follow his example, not that of the president* he despised. And that is why Meghan McCain is malaka of the week.

Memories Of The Muskie Administration

The MSM punditocracy hasn’t learned anything from the 2016 election. They’re still fixated on early polling and “discovering” bright shiny objects instead of reporting the campaign. I *had* hoped they’d learned that insider political journalism was bankrupt as declared by Ben Smith last summer. But they haven’t learned a damn thing and continue to focus on the horse race aspects of the “why not me” campaign. Remember the Avenatti boomlet? I’d prefer to forget it.

After declaring Joe Biden’s candidacy DOA, many in the punditocracy now think that he’s the inevitable nominee. They’re wrong in both instances. Frontrunner status has a way of bringing a candidate crashing to earth, especially in such a large field. Remember President Dean?

I have fond memories of the 2009-2017 Hillary Clinton administration. She was the frontrunner that time around and ended up losing the nomination. Secretary of State was a pretty damn good consolation prize. Thanks, Obama.

The ultimate Democratic frontrunner who failed was Senator Edmund Sixtus Muskie of Maine. 1972 was my formative year as a political junkie. It was the first time I was old enough to pay attention. I supported George McGovern but liked Muskie and didn’t understand why he was torn down by a media that had built him up as the inevitable nominee for two years. I was too young to get it then.

Ed Muskie was Hubert Humphrey’s running mate in 1968. The contrast between him and the man I refuse to claim as my countryman, Spiro Agnew, was stark. Muskie was calm, thoughtful, and qualified. The self-loathing Greek, Ted (Don’t Call Me Spiro) Agnew, was the exact opposite: bombastic, shallow, and unqualified. He was also a crook who took bribes while serving as Veep.

One of the best ads of the 1968 election cycle mocked Agnew:

Back to Ed Muskie. He emerged from the ’68 campaign as a national figure. His calm, reasoned reply to a frenetic midterm broadcast by Tricky Dick in 1970 made him a star and the ’72 frontrunner. The tall Senator was called Lincolnesque by many observers. What candidate wouldn’t want to be compared to Honest Abe?

Muskie led in every Democratic preference poll from that moment on. He was frequently ahead of Nixon in head-to-head polls through the early months of 1972. One of his campaign themes was Trust Muskie, drawing an obvious contrast to a president whose nickname was Tricky Dick.

This button is a good example of Muskie’s message:

Muskie was inevitable, until he wasn’t. His frontrunner status made him a target for Nixon’s dirty tricksters and at 6’4″ he was a big target. Attacks on his wife, Jane, caused Big Ed to snap and cry in public, which in the uber-macho atmosphere of 1972 helped doom his candidacy. Nixon and his lackeys had the opponent they wanted in the general election.

Among the many ironies of Muskie’s doomed campaign is that he actually won the New Hampshire primary, but the punditocracy, unaware of Nixonian dirty tricks, declared McGovern the “winner.” Muskie’s campaign might have come a cropper anyway: he was over reliant on big name endorsements and blurred his strongly liberal political views into blandness on the advice of his advisers.

Muskie was also dogged in 1972 by a bizarre and untrue story concocted by Hunter S. Thompson about his use of a hallucinogenic drug, Ibogaine. Thompson later claimed it was a joke and that nobody believed the story anyway. That just wasn’t so. I think of Ed Muskie every time I hear Hunter Thompson lionized as a voice for fearless independent journalism when, in fact, he was in the bag for Team McGovern. Projection thy name is Hunter S. Thompson.

What lessons can be drawn from my memories of the Muskie administration?

It’s not over until it’s over.

Don’t trust the MSM punditocracy and early polls. They’re both eminently changeable. Just ask former media darling Beto O’Rourke.

Insider political journalism *should* be dead, but it’s not.

The last word goes to Alice Cooper with a hit song from 1972:

Quote Of The Day: Bill Weld On Trump

I’m a hardcore Democrat so I’m not supporting Bill Weld, BUT I got a kick out of that slogan when I saw it on the book of faces. As a longtime observer of presidential politics, I’m keeping an eye on Weld’s nascent challenge to the Insult Comedian. In the primary era, presidents who face a serious intra-party challenge lose re-election. By serious, I mean someone who can poll enough votes early on to inflict political damage such as Pat Buchanan or Gene McCarthy neither of whom expected to win the nomination. But Poppy Bush lost and LBJ withdrew. Mission accomplished.

Weld is something of an anachronism: a moderate New England Republican. They used to be plentiful but now they’re as rare as the dodo bird. Weld, however, is no dodo.

Massachusetts pols have traditionally done well in the New Hampshire primary. It’s also one of twenty states where unenrolled voters can vote in a party primary, which gives Weld a chance to bloody Trump’s nose with the help of  independents. And they’re plentiful in the Granite State.

Weld sat down for an extended interview with the NYT’s Jeremy W. Peters. I got a kick out of this exchange:

There’s conservatism and Trumpism. One is an ideology, the other is more of an attitude. But increasingly a lot of conservatives worry that the two have become inseparably linked. Are they?

They shouldn’t be. Trumpism is frankly devotion to Mr. Trump’s megalomania. I mean, he’s got a lot going on in his head. The man is so angry so much of the time. It’s hard for me to see how one single head could contain so much anger, so much wrath.

He says, “I’m a counterpuncher.” He is not a counterpuncher. He will take off with tweets or action after any slight, real or imagined. My read is the guy is terrified maybe he’s a loser, which is why he lashes out at anybody. I don’t know everything that’s going on there. But I do know that I would not want to have the president’s demons. I feel for the guy in a way. They’re not normal.

That reminds me of some venerable Neil Finn lyrics:

There’s closets in my head where dirty things are kept
That never see the light of day
I want to drag them out, go for a walk
Just to see the look that’s on your face
Sometimes I can’t be straight I don’t want to hurt you
So forgive me if I tell a lie
Sometimes I come on cold but don’t believe it
I will love you till the day I die

I guess the last line could be the president* referring to his true love, himself. Hell, the next couplet fits as well:

I believe in doing things backwards
Take heed, start doing things in reverse

That concludes what one could call the sub-quote of the day. I believe I just did.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

Great White Hopes Or Killer Bees?

Everybody’s running for president; every Democrat, that is. Former Veep Joe Biden disregarded my unsolicited advice and threw his shades in the ring. Why not? He’s the polling frontrunner, which is a meaningless distinction at this point, Just ask Ed Muskie, Howard Dean, and Rudy Giuliani. That’s right, the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover was the early GOP frontrunner in 2008. In 2019,  the artist formerly known as America’s Mayor is reduced to being Trump’s mouthpiece. Where’s that rebuttal report, Rudy? Or was it just another lie?

I’m still undecided in the race. I like four candidates and consider them plausible presidents: Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar. Note that none of them is a white dude and three aren’t dudes at all. They haven’t received the level of media attention that four white dudes have: Bernie, Biden, Beto, and Buttigieg. I’m uncertain whether to call them the Great White Hopes or the Killer Bees so I gave the two labels equal billing in the post title.

Here’s the deal: I understand the attention paid to Bernie and Biden. The former was the 2016 runner-up and the latter has run twice before and was Barack Obama’s veep for 8 years. They have the name recognition to go along with the white hair of which Bernie has much more than Joey the Shark. They have another thing in common: they’re both septuagenarians, which is not disqualifying but gives me pause.

Mayor Pete seems to have supplanted Beto as the MSM’s darling. They both have slender resumes for putative presidents but it’s the Why Not Me election so they’re running. My preference is to have a nominee who has run and won statewide, which rules out the young gun set of the Killer Bees.

I will support anyone against Trump but the mayor of a  college town with a population of 109K? Really? Julian Castro also has not run and won a statewide race but at least he was a big city mayor and cabinet secretary. What’s the difference between him and Mayor Pete? Ethnicity. The campaign press corps has a hard time identifying with a Latino; even one with such an amazing Horatio Alger-type back story. Julian is just as cute as Pete and would also make history. Beto would simply be the latest white dude to be nominated albeit a white dude who used to be in a band. I was too. Perhaps I should run.

There’s another difference between Castro and the other young guns: he’s running a substantive campaign. He’s thought a lot about immigration and how the system can be changed and reformed. It’s badly needed after the chainsaw tactics of Trump and Miller. Castro is a longshot but he’s making a contribution to the dialogue in a way that neither Beto nor Buttigieg is. Frankly, I hope that Castro and/or Beto will drop out and run against John Cornyn back home in Texas. Winning the senate is every bit as important as retaking the White House. Democrats have been fixated on the latter way too long. We need to multi-task.

It’s still early and anything can happen in the Democratic field. There are two qualities that are being underestimated by observers thus far. First, the 2020 nominee has to be tough: Team Trump’s only path to victory is total annihilation of their opponent. Second, many voters want a restoration of what Gamaliel called “normalcy” and Adrastos calls normality. They are quite simply exhausted by the endless Trump scandals. I’m convinced that many 2016 Trump voters will pull the lever for peace and quiet in 2020.

The post title is, of course, wry and sardonic. None of the Killer Bees thinks of themselves as a Great White Hope although both Bernie and Biden need to do a better job explaining themselves to people of color, especially black women who are tired of being taken for granted. They should be: they’re the backbone of the Democratic base. That’s why the clips of yesterday’s She The People forum were so much fun to watch. Warren killed it. Bernie struggled. So it goes.

One reason I chose the featured Killer Bee image was the sign in the background: Swine Flu Inoculation Center. The executive branch is loaded with swines. We need to stop the disease called Trumpism in its tracks.  Additionally, the Insult Comedian has pandered  to the anti-vaxxers who have brought back measles.  Thanks, Trumpy. We need inoculation from these swines. If it takes the Great White Hopes or the Killer Bees, so be it. Just win, baby.

The last word goes to the original Killer Bees led by the great Elliot Gould:

I’m caught in another last word lie. Does that qualify me for a Trump regime cabinet job?

Let’s shut things down with the musical stylings of the Blues Brothers; some of whom were also Killer Bees:

The Man Without A Plan

The Insult Comedian continues to flail, wail, and fail. My favorite recent moment was his “threat” to close the border, which almost no one took seriously. The Trump base likes their guacamole and tequila as much as the rest of us. As always, Trump caved and issued a “one-year warning” instead. I somehow doubt that President Obrador aka Amlo was shaking in his boots. It was non-starter from the git-go.

It’s time for a reminder that Trump is the man without a plan. He wings it, improvises, and pulls stuff out of thin air. The only plan he has is to distract attention from evidence of his criminality.

An excellent example of Trump’s inability to plan ahead is the Mar-a-Lago mishigas. I suspect the Secret Service knew early on that it was an insecure location since anyone with an extra $200K can buy a membership and proximity to Trumpberius. The word seems to have spread in China that this is the way to get to Trump. A man with a plan would have had one to make the so-called Southern White House more secure. But who needs security when everyone loves you? #Sarcasm

My other favorite recent Trump gambit is his threat to nominate Herman Cain to the Fed. Isn’t Stephen Moore bad enough? A WaPo headline describes the Cain gambit as a plan but you know what  I think about that. Trump is the man without plan.

Another area that Trump’s chronic inability to plan seems to be infected is his re-election campaign. Here’s a Gabriel Sherman quote from the Hive that has people buzzing:

The prospect of damaging Mueller revelations is particularly alarming to advisers who worry the president’s 2020 re-election campaign is in “disarray,” according to three Republicans close to the White House. “There’s no brain trust,” a former West Wing official said. Campaign manager Brad Parscale, a social-media consultant with no political experience prior to Trump’s 2016 campaign, is struggling to exert control over the operation and reverse Trump’s upside-down poll numbers with women voters, sources said. “The polling is very bad. They’re going to have a big problem with female voters,” a Republican who’s been briefed on the internal numbers said. According to a source, Parscale told Trump over the weekend of March 16 that he could improve his standing with women if he dialed back the tweeting. Trump responded with a tweetstorm the following day that included an attack on the late Senator John McCain and a retweet of a user who had promoted the QAnon conspiracy. “Brad went to him and Trump’s response was like 40 tweets,” the source said.

I’d call it a brainless trust, especially since Sherman goes on to state that Trump Junior and Slumlord Jared will really run the campaign. Another gift from the president* to the resistance. Thanks, Trumpy.

Here’s my oddball 2020 prediction. Not long ago, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld announced that he was challenging Trump for the GOP nomination. It got very little attention but Weld is just the sort of candidate they love in New Hampshire. Do I think he can win? No, but he could attract enough votes to make Trump tweet 40 times after the primary. Remember: Pat Buchanan got 37% of the vote against Poppy Bush in 1992. It’s true that Trump is Buchanan-like but they love protest candidates in the Granite state. And Weld is for legal weed. Party on, Bill.

Trump’s inability to plan is one reason I call him the Kaiser of Chaos. I’m unsure of the “oranges” of this problem but it may have something to do with a rebellion against his father’s grandfather’s homeland. Germans like to plan, y’all.

The last word (image?) goes to Michael F with his marvelous Trump as upper class twit of the year image from last week:

The Veep Abidens

I remain undecided in the increasingly contentious race for the Democratic presidential nomination. I remain committed to the notion that anyone who wants to run, should give it a shot and see what happens. The more the merrier, let the voters decide. You’ve heard it all before.

I begin to wonder, however, whether or not former Vice President Joe Biden should throw his hat into the ring. It’s not for ideological reasons: anyone who was a Senator for 30+ years is going to have votes that look questionable 20 years later. It’s called the rule of unintended consequences and applies to the omnibus crime bill passed in the 1990’s. Its intent was NOT to throw more black folks in jail but that’s what happened. It has turned out to be a bad bill despite its strong gun control aspects, which proved to be depressingly ephemeral. Hindsight is always 20-20.

I’m less concerned with the “handsy Uncle Joe” stories than many. Arguably, these stories boil down to cultural, regional, and generational differences since they occurred in public view, not behind closed doors. Dr. A had a colleague who moved to New Orleans from New York in the 1990’s. She considered people calling her baby, sweetie, or darling to be sexual harassment. If that’s the case, it still happens to me every time I make groceries. In New Orleans, it’s just people being friendly. In fact, the colleague in question came to understand that. But I don’t think we should be having *that* particular argument during such a high stakes election.

I come from a touchy-feely ethnic culture in which hugging and kissing people of both genders is the norm. Having said that, I don’t recall ever kissing a woman on the back of the neck and sniffing her hair as Lucy Flores says Joe Biden did. That’s definitely creepy even if Flores herself thinks it was an invasion of her personal space and not sexual harassment. Is it disqualifying for a presidential candidate in the #METOO era? I’m not sure but it will  be a factor in a race in which there are multiple serious female contenders.

I’ve compared the early stages of the 2020 Democratic race to 1976 before. Joe Biden is an excellent analogue to the Happy Warrior of that era, former Vice President /Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey. HHH was more battle-scarred, but by 1976 he had regained his popularity among the Democratic base. He was repeatedly approached to join the race and was always reluctant because he knew he’d feel less love if he became an active candidate. He did not run.

There’s ample evidence that many Democrats have great affection for Joe Biden because of his 8 years as Barack Obama’s loyal Vice President. We at First Draft call him Joey the Shark, but many more people call him Uncle Joe. The Uncle Joe glow is already beginning to fade as Biden inches closer to running. It’s getting ugly out there. The axes are being sharpened over his voting record, loose lips, and back-slapping persona.

Then there’s the matter of Biden’s age. Dr. A and I paid a visit to an elderly relative yesterday. She’s an ardent Democrat but expressed her own concerns about Biden’s age. She said that she didn’t feel like an old lady even in her late sixties but when she hit her mid-seventies that changed dramatically. Joe Biden is 76 and, unless you’re a lazy lima bean like the Insult Comedian, the presidency is an arduous, stressful job, and campaigning is even harder.

My unsolicited advice for the Veep is to abiden by his beloved former colleague’s example and stay out of the race as Humphrey did in 1976. The supporters of at least one of his potential primary opponents are ready, willing, and able to throw everything they’ve got at him. If he runs, he needs to be ready to deal with them, then face the prospect of an ugly general election in which Team Trump will not only attack him and his family but create new charges out of thin air. Trump’s only path to re-election is total destruction of his opponent. Believe me.

Beto’s Big Getaway

It took longer than usual to come up with a title for this post. I seem to have used up all my Beto puns last year and was reluctant to Beto the ranch on a new one. I consulted with Mr. Google and learned that Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 film of The Getaway was filmed in O’Rourke’s native El Paso. The book on which it’s based was written by pulp icon Jim Thompson and it’s Pulp Fiction Thursday hence the post title.

Another reason The Getaway provides a perfect title for a post about Beto’s belated campaign announcement is that its premise seems to be “vote for the cool kid” and nobody was cooler than Steve McQueen whose nickname just happened to be The King of Cool. Destiny or a fluke? You decide.

I just finished reading Joe Hagan’s ode to Beto in Vanity Fair. Both Hagan and the candidate think O’Rourke is a man of destiny:”I want to be in it. Man, I was born to be in it.”

I’m less certain. As to the tone of the piece itself, I’m inclined to agree with this tweet from Gambit editor and Adrastos crony Kevin Allman:

The puff piece article compares O’Rourke to Obama and JFK. It even hints at a “LBJ only cuter” analogy with an extended discussion of Beto’s father Pat, a failed politician, with whom the candidate had a contentious relationship as did Lyndon and Sam Johnson. It was the most interesting part of Hagan’s hagiography piece and included this bit of myth making:

One night in July 2001 the two had what Beto O’Rourke says was “the best conversation we ever had,” ranging over family, politics, personal history. “We just ate leftovers and drank a bottle of wine in the backyard,” he recalls. The next morning, his father was cycling along a quiet route outside El Paso when he was struck by a car and thrown 70 feet to his death. “I was at work and my mom called me and I just knew,” he says. “Because her voice was shaken and said, ‘Something’s happened with your dad. You should come to the store.’”

Neither Jim Thompson nor Sam Peckinpah could have concocted a more mythic end to this father-son relationship.

I’m already on the record as a “the more the merrier” pundit. Whoever wants to contend for the 2020 Democratic nomination should run and let the voters decide. I, too, think that the ability to defeat Trump should be an important factor BUT given the slippage in the incumbent’s support and the scandals engulfing him, I think that any plausible Democratic candidate has a good chance of beating him.  I’m concerned about governing: Trump’s successor will have an ungodly number of messes to clean up including the rebuilding of the NATO alliance. Being cool is not enough.

The Beto myth did not start with the Vanity Fair puff piece. After his defeat by Ted Cruz, people started comparing him to another politician who lost a senate election and was elected president in the next cycle. Comparisons to Lincoln, Kennedy, and Obama seem a bit over-the-top and even a trifle overwrought. What’s next? Are they going to trot out the old Todd Rundgren album title: A Wizard, A True Star? Annie Leibovitz took a picture of Beto “jamming” with his kids, maybe they can do their own version of that classic 1973 album.

Here’s the deal: I will support any Democratic nominee against anyone the GOP puts forward. I don’t even dislike Beto in the way I dislike Bernie Sanders who I would also support. I’m just skeptical that the guy who lost to Tailgunner Ted who lost to the Insult Comedian is the right person to become the next president. If you want healing, unity, and love, Cory Booker is already sounding those themes. Thematically, Beto is the white Cory, only the latter’s stage mannerisms are not reminiscent of revival tent preachers. I’ll spare you comparisons to Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry. The Steve McQueen shtick is enough for one post.

Beto brings another liability to the race. There’s a hunger in the Democratic base for a woman and/or person of color to top the ticket in 2020. Women and minorities drove the party to victory in 2018 and many believe that we should follow suit in 2020.  I remain undecided but I’m inclined to agree.

This post is not intended as a takedown of Robert O’Rourke. I just think he should be subjected to the same scrutiny as the rest of the field. One important question is whether or not he’s ever eaten salad with a comb a la Amy Klobuchar. Repeat after me: being cool is not enough.

Being urged to run by Oprah Winfrey is not a reason for non-celebrities to support a candidate. Thus far, all we really know about O’Rourke is that he’s an excellent campaigner and that the media and some voters are in love with him. It’s unclear what his raison d’être for running for president is: “Vote for Beto because he’s cool” is not enough.

It’s obvious that Oprah and former president Obama urged him to consider running because timing is everything in politics, and O’Rourke was the brightest and shiniest media object in the 2018 campaign. He also lost his race to Ted Cruz a man who is disliked even by those who agree with him. Moral victories are not enough: the stakes are too high.

While I wish that Beto was running against John Cornyn instead of jumping into the crowded presidential field, I understand that the adage “when you’re hot, you’re hot” applies to politics. The people who ran The Getaway‘s PR campaign understood that too. This alternate poster for that movie gets the last word:

Instant Postscript: I mentioned to a friend that I was doing a Beto post centered around the Steve McQueen version of The Getaway. He reminded me that there was a unnecessary and even gratuitous 1994 remake starring SNL Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin. Betomaniacs could argue that McQueen would kick Baldwin’s ass hence O’Rourke could whip Trump. It’s not a bad argument as fictional arguments go. Repeat after me: being cool is not enough.