Category Archives: Campaign Notes

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.

The Big Picture

There was outrage and shock over the light sentence given to Paul Manafort by Judge TS Ellis last week. I was unhappy with the 47 month sentence but not shocked because I followed the trial closely. Judge Ellis was biased against the prosecution and in favor of Manafort throughout the trial. Several times during the trial, Ellis expressed the opinion that Manafort was a stand-in for Trump so the expressions of shock were either themselves shocking or naive. The light sentence was predictable. Not desirable but predictable.

Judge Ellis is the personification of a federal judge who has served too long. He’s been on senior status since 2007 and has served a total of 32 years. Federal judges tend to have a high opinion of themselves and their legal acumen. Ellis may be an extreme example but the system is pockmarked with high-handed judges who act like demigods in their courtrooms.

I’m inclined to agree with former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti:

The 47-month sentence imposed on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has drawn widespread criticism that Judge T.S. Ellis’s decision to give Manafort a sentence far below the 19.5 to 24.5-year guidelines range was motivated by Manafort’s race and class or by partisan bias. In fact, his flawed decision is a consequence of the vast discretion given to federal judges to issue sentences without real fear of being overturned.

What you might not know is that federal law permitted Judge Ellis to give Manafort a sentence of anywhere between 0 to 80 years in prison. And as long as Ellis did not go above the 24.5-year maximum called for by the sentencing guidelines, an appellate court would almost certainly not reverse his sentence, given the very deferential standard of review.

Some compared Manfort’s 47 month sentence to the 13 year book thrown at my former Congressman Dollar Bill Jefferson by Judge Ellis. One flaw in that reasoning is that was not a tax case but a bribery case. Besides, Dollar Bill’s sentence was reduced to 5 years after a plea bargain in 2017. As I said on the tweeter tube:

Dollar Bill is a corrupt piece of shit who deserved all the jail time he got as I pointed out in a piece I wrote for the Bayou Brief.

The reason I’m more sanguine than many about the Manafort sentence is that I’m a big picture guy. Ellis’ sentence is just the first bite out of the sentencing apple. The DC judge, Amy Berman Jackson, has already taken a hard-line with Manafort by revoking his bail for violating his plea deal with Team Mueller. I expect she’ll throw a heftier book at Manafort with that sentence running consecutively with Ellis’ 47 months, which could be a total of 14+years.

In addition to being a big picture guy, I’m not a fan of hot takes. It’s easier to spout off on social media than it is to think things through before responding to the events of the day. It’s why I’m not a fan of epic “tweet threads.” I’d rather read a coherent discussion of an issue than 25 often disjointed tweets on the same subject. That’s why I’m a blogger, not a tweeter.

In other big picture news, people are obsessing about the 2020 campaign and why certain candidates should or should not run. I think it’s up to the voters to sort things out. Lack of interest is why Mike Bloomberg and Sherrod Brown dropped out, which is a good thing in both cases. Bloomberg will spend his megabucks on issues and Brown will hold on to  a senate seat that would surely tumble to the GOP. The Ohio senator may still end up on the ticket if the nominee is looking for balance: a Harris-Brown ticket could be formidable.

Here’s the deal. I think that Trump and the Republicans will be so consumed with scandal that the Democratic nominee will be a heavy favorite to win the election. For that reason, I think that the ability to govern is just as important as electability, which is why I’m reluctant to support anyone at this point in time. The next Democratic president is going to have an even bigger mess to clean up than the one inherited by Barack Obama, which is why competence and experience are just as important as ideology in 2020.

I’ve seen confident predictions that the Democratic nominee will not be a white man. It’s too soon to tell: who thought an obscure one-term Georgia Governor would be the 1976 nominee? I’d like to make history again BUT we’re the big tent party and need to assemble a coalition that appeals to moderates and independents as well as to the left. Once again, the voters will winnow down the candidates. Whatever happens, the Democratic nominee will be far superior to Trump or anyone else the GOP puts forward.

Former Veep Joe Biden seems to be edging closer to a decision as to whether or not to run. If Biden were 10 years younger, he’d be a prohibitive favorite for the nomination. In his case, experience and likability could trump (pun intended, it always is) ideology. Joey the shark will have to explain some of his past positions but is viewed with personal affection by most Democrats. He’ll also have to rein in his tendency to praise *everyone* including Republicans if he runs. It’s what happens when you’re an epic schmoozer.

I may be a self-proclaimed big picture guy but I’m out of the prediction business. I hope that Trump will be out of office before January 2021 BUT things have been so crazy for the last three years that I hesitate to dust off my crystal ball. All I’m certain of is that it’s going to be interesting on both the legal and political fronts for the foreseeable future.

Horrible Bosses

I’ve never seen the movie Horrible Bosses but, like everyone else, I’ve had some bad bosses. Besides, I know a good title when I see one. I have, however, seen 9 to 5 and it’s hard to imagine them being worse fictional bosses than Dabney Fucking Coleman.

In case you’re wondering where this is going, there was a spate of negative press last week about the latest entrant into the presidential race, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. According to articles in a slew of online publications, she’s a horrible boss.  (Spate & Slew sounds like a shystery law firm.) The fact that there were so many articles right before her announcement ignited my bullshit detector. I don’t believe in coincidences.

There was a lot of melodrama on the tweeter tube about Klobuchar the bad boss. Some even wondered if she could continue in the Senate let alone run for president. I didn’t see anything disqualifying. She’s obviously a very difficult person to work for BUT so are many hard-driving workaholics out there including other Senators. not to mention lawyers, which is the workplace milieu from which Klobuchar comes.

The Klobuchar as bad boss articles are another example of the double standard at work. I don’t recall any MALE presidential contenders being judged on how they treated their staff, but it’s a thing because her name is Amy, not Arnie. She’s a piker, however, compared to LBJ or Trump whose staff is apparently in open rebellion. BTW, George W. Bush was a sweetheart of a boss but he was a horrible president.

Women in professional positions are judged by a higher standard than men. In the legal profession, many men are skeptical that women are tough enough to be lawyers, let alone bosses. Senator Klobuchar is 58 so she had to prove herself tough and worthy to older, often sexist, lawyers. Hence her horrible bossery. It’s not a management style I like, but it’s a dog eat dog world out there and you don’t want to be like Cheers barfly Norm Peterson and wear Milk Bone underwear.

My suggestion to Democratic primary voters is that they consider the information about Klobuchar’s management style alongside her record in office. If you don’t like what you’ve heard, support someone else. There are a lot of good candidates running. So many that I remain undecided.

There’s an upside for Klobuchar from the horrible boss stories: it proves that she’s tough enough to be president despite her Minnesota nice exterior. Additionally, if elected, she’ll work for us, not vice versa. And the American people can be horrible bosses too. Just ask the surviving staff members of the two recent presidents who were not re-elected: Jimmy Carter and Poppy Bush.

The last word goes to Dolly Parton:

Of Stone Cold Liars, Starbucks Fucks, & Sweaty Shysters

This polar vortex is a mean motherfucker. It has led the Insult Comedian to make a stale joke about global warming and vast swaths of the country to freeze their asses off. It’s been in the forties in New Orleans but I’m not complaining after learning that the bars in Wisconsin are closed because of the weather. Now that’s some serious shit.

The news grinds on as Cheeseheads hunker down and Athenae’s cats get more lap time with their people because of the weather. Holy Aaron Brrr, Batman.

Stone Cold Liar: Roger Stone is the first person I’ve ever seen who seems to enjoy being perp-walked and arraigned. Ratfucker Roger loves him some publicity even when it involves a full-tilt raid by federal law enforcement on all his properties. The feds were afraid that he might destroy evidence pertinent to Kremlingate. For all we know, Stone took some selfies of himself and Assange and/or Guccifer 2.0. Hopefully, there aren’t any sex tapes. #shudder

The tough talking Stone claims that he’ll never roll on his pal Trumpberius. It looks like lobbying for a pardon to me. Roger is a stone cold liar. If he’s facing enough jail time, he’ll sing a different tune:

But the speculation that Stone could turn on his longtime client is supported by several factors. For one, Stone has a complicated relationship with Trump. The two met in 1979 when Stone was living at Roy Cohn’s Manhattan town house while working as a young staffer on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, and it has rankled Trump that Stone is regarded as his political brain (Stone has claimed he created the “build the wall” slogan). “Stone and Trump are like an old married couple,” the Republican close to Trump explained. “Stone knows Donald isn’t loyal. He calls him ‘Mr. Ingratitude.’”

That’s a better nickname than any coined by the Insult Comedian. Stay tuned.

Howard The Starbucks Fuck: It’s been a long time since there was such a rotten campaign launch. Howard Schultz does not seem to have thought his campaign through very well. It’s unclear why he’s running: the last thing the country needs is another inexperienced rich egomaniac in the White House. If Trump doesn’t cure us of the “we need a CEO to run guvmint like a bidness” delusion, nothing will.

Speaking of delusions, Schultz is guilty of a venerable one that’s part of the country’s creation myth. He believes that political parties are the problem. He’s half-right in that instance: the GOP has been going crazy for the last half-century and their lunacy was perfected with the election* of the Current Occupant.

If Schultz were a lifelong conservative Republican who would take votes from Trump, I’d be down with his independent candidacy BUT he’s not, so he should follow that heckler’s advice:

“Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole. Go back to getting ratioed on Twitter. Go back to Davos with the other billionaire élites who think they know how to run the world.”

Word.

The Case of the Sweaty Shyster: The president* may have appointed Matt Whitaker acting AG to throw monkey wrenches at the Mueller probe but it hasn’t gone to plan. Rod Rosenstein has continued to supervise the investigation and the indictments and guilty pleas keep coming. So much for Trump’s attempt to rig the “rigged witch hunt.”

There was a flurry of MSM gullibility when Whitaker claimed that the investigation was nearly over. It was a vague, unsubstantiated claim but the MSM fell for it even though there are obviously more shoes to drop, especially if Stone turns on Mr. Ingratitude. Additionally, congressional Democrats seem to think that a bunch of Trumpers lied under oath, which is what Rog is charged with.

I don’t believe Whitaker, in part, because he sweated at that presser like Bogie in the greenhouse scene in The Big Sleep. A friend of mine captured the moment on twitter:

That’s one sweaty shyster.

The last word goes to glam rockers Mott the Hoople with a song released during the misrule of Roger Stone’s favorite Oval One, Richard Milhous Nixon:

 

Stop Electing CEOs

They’re bad at this because government isn’t a business: 

Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO, says in a 60 Minutes interview already recorded but airing on Sunday that he is thinking very seriously about a presidential run—but he stops short of a full announcement.

He makes clear, however, that if he moves forward, he will do so as an independent.

Of course, because parties and principles and coherent platforms are just, like, bullshit, man, and he alone can see that the true way forward is to split the baby: Half of it in an immigration cage.

We just recently rid ourselves, in Illinois, of the odious Bruce Rauner, who believed he could abuse teachers into doing his bidding because as head of a company all he had to do was say, “Do it” and people would jump. When you’re the sole guy in charge you can do that.

Trump’s the same way: I can yell at my employees the right way to make them do what I want. Well, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t work for you, Brad, and frankly neither do any of the Republicans, not that they remember that. In government there are all these other little fiefdoms to navigate and they require negotiation, not just giving orders.

A governor, a senator, shit even a state rep knows nothing works like that, so next time around let’s elect somebody who has experience in the system they want to run.

A.

The More The Merrier

Welcome to the latest post wherein I steal the title of an old movie. The More The Merrier was a brilliant 1943 comedy about the wartime housing shortage in Washington D.C. It’s noteworthy as the last comedy directed by George Stevens before going off to war. Stevens was among the first Americans to see a Nazi death camp and stuck to more serious subjects after the war. As much as I love A Place In The Sun, Shane, and Giant, I wish Stevens had done some comedies after the war. Nobody did them better and his post Giant output defined the phrase mixed bag. That concludes the film buff portion of the post.

Let’s turn out attention to the 2020 presidential campaign. There’s some hand wringing among Democrats about the number of candidates who plan to run. I say the more the merrier. A diverse field of candidates shows the strength of our party. And a large field gives us a better chance to pick a candidate who will reflect the nation’s mood in November 2020.

It’s been forgotten what a large field of talented candidates ran for the 2008 Democratic nomination. It quickly boiled down to Obama versus Clinton, but John Edwards was a serious contender early on. We dodged that bullet but we could have found ourselves stuck with Edwards when the National Enquirer baby daddy story hit.

We know what worked in the 2018 midterms: new faces, especially women and minority candidates. That might be the right formula for 2020 as well but an experienced old hand such as Joe Biden might be appealing to voters sick of Trumpian incompetence by the time the election rolls around. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell this far out from the election. Repeat after me: the more the merrier.

I remain undecided about 2020 but I find much to like in the candidacies of Warren, Harris,  Castro, and Gillibrand as well as the thus far undeclared cohort of Booker, Klobuchar, Brown, Beto, and others who are flirting with running. It’s a veritable cast of thousands: the more the merrier.

As to Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders, I’m a fan of neither but let them run and see how they do. Bloomberg’s wanderings from Democrat to Republican to Independent and back to Democrat gives this hardcore Democrat pause. Similarly, Sanders’ status as a stubborn Independent is vexatious. I’m also unconvinced that a passion candidate like Bernie will do as well the second time around, BUT if both he and Bloomberg want to run, I say the more the merrier. Let the voters decide.

Everyone who is a native-born citizen over the age of 35 has the right to run for president even Tulsi Gabbard. I’m mystified as to why she thinks that running on a platform of compromising with Trump, Obama bashing, and Kremlingate skepticism will appeal to Democratic voters. I’ll skip detailing her anti-LGBT past, which has already crippled her candidacy.

Speaking of the Current Occupant, he’s the elephant in the room. If Trump runs for re-election, he will be the GOP nominee even if he faces a primary challenge. But I remain uncertain that he’ll be on the ballot in 2020. As a partisan Democrat, I hope the Insult Comedian runs because he looks beatable in the wake of the midterms, but as a patriot I hope he’s out of office ASAP.

Democrats need to be prepared to run against another Republican nominee, be it Pence or someone else. That’s another reason to be glad that the Democratic field will be so large. We need options. The more the merrier.

The last word goes to The Mighty Sparrow:

 

Mississippi Goddam

Source: Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Facebook page via the Bayou Brief.

I feel like an interloper to this story. Athenae wrote a slam-bang post about it yesterday and my friend and Bayou Brief publisher, Lamar White Jr. broke the story of Cindy Hyde-Smith’s bigoted comments. I also could not resist using the Nina Simone song for the post title. I know I’m not the first to do so, my friend Kat did it at Sky Dancing. I am a derivative motherfucker. I do, however, have talented friends.

While I’m giving credit where it’s due, there’s a remarkable piece in the Jackson Free Press by Ashton Pittman (names don’t get more Southern than that) that fills in many of the blanks about Cindy Hyde-Smith aka the Racist Lady. Nobody should be shocked that, not only did the appointed senator attend a “segregation academy,” she sent her daughter there. And yes, she was an elected official when her daughter matriculated. It doesn’t matter to prosperous white Mississippians. It’s what they do, y’all. Cannot mix with “those people.”

Another note about Lamar’s reporting. He tells us exactly who and what, Greg Stewart, the guy in the Facebook pictures with the Racist Lady, is:

In the early 2000s, Stewart was specifically identified as a leader of a recognized hate group- Free Mississippi- by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group went defunct, and as a result, it was de-listed by the SPLC. But you can still find his name on their database. He  served as the group’s “parliamentarian.”

You can also still easily find him on Facebook, where he makes it abundantly clear that he is very much still involved in the business of the Lost Cause. (Stewart enthusiastically supported Chris McDaniel in the general election and is now cheering on Hyde-Smith).

McDaniel is the arch teabagger and Lost Causer who opposed Thad Cochran in 2014. He’s also the creep whose supporter harassed the Senator’s elderly wife in her nursing home. I am not making this up.

Back to Cindy Hyde-Smith. I wish I could say that her racist remarks and inept campaign will defeat her but I don’t think they will. Her Democratic opponent, Mike Espy, is infinitely more intelligent and qualified to serve in the Senate. He’s also black and the vast majority of white Mississippians will never vote for a Democrat let alone a black Democrat. It’s the party of “those people.”

I’ve watched with amusement people who know nothing about the South opine on cable news about the Mississippi runoff. I saw one otherwise intelligent person say on AM JOY that Espy will win because there was not supposed to be a runoff in this race. Wrong. Chris McDaniel nearly unseated an incumbent Senator in the 2014 GOP primary. He only got 17% of the vote this time, in part, because Trump supported the Racist Lady in the first round. He’s still popular with white voters in the Magnolia state, alas.

What Cindy Hyde-Smith’s bigoted bumbling has done is to make the runoff closer than it should be. Republican political pros are nervous about the race but think she’ll pull it out after Trump rallies the peckerwoods later today. Their mantra is: “We don’t want an Alabama.”

They’re referring to Senator Doug Jones’ thrilling win last year in his race against Judge Pervert. I think that’s unlikely for reasons stated on the tweeter tube:

Alabama is NOT a progressive paradise but it has some big cities, a major medical research hub in Birmingham, and the rocket eggheads in Huntsville to partially offset the rural peckerwoods and rednecks. Also, Doug Jones is white. An African American candidate would not have beaten Judge Pervert, alas. The Bradley effect remains in effect in the South, as we saw in Florida where many white voters could not bring themselves to vote for Andrew Gillum.

I think Mike Espy has a good chance to get 45% of the vote if his GOTV effort is strong, otherwise he’ll hover at around 40%. If it’s the former, it’s a Beto-style moral victory. I hope I’m wrong and we wake up to an upset victory on Wednesday morning.

One thing that national Democrats seem to have learned this year is to CONTEST every race even those that look difficult. You never know when an inept candidate will talk about hanging or disenfranchising their opponents. In another state, those comments would have destroyed the appointed senator’s campaign. It’s a sign of progress that they damaged it severely. And in Mississippi of all places. Goddam.

The last word goes to the great Nina Simone:

Campaign Notes: Concessions & Patience

It seemed only fitting to begin this post with a visual pun. Who among us doesn’t like that kind of concession? There was, however, the time I ate way too many Milk Duds whilst seeing Boyz In The Hood, a great movie that left me with a great bellyache.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, the aftermath of the 2018 midterms. One lesson I’ve drawn from them is that candidates in close races should *never* concede early. His subsequently retracted concession has left Florida’s Andrew Gillum in an awkward position in his ongoing electoral dispute with Trump Mini-Me Ron DeSantis. Bill Nelson may be dull but he was wily enough to refuse to concede, which has left him in a stronger political position than the charismatic Tallahassee Mayor.

An obvious lesson of the midterms is that the Republicans are the party of voter fuckery and mendacious fraud claims. Democrats should be the “COUNT EVERY VOTE” party. That’s why early concessions are for the birds. What difference does it make if a candidate concedes on election night? Never forget how that came back to bite Al Gore in the ass. There were even recount tchotchkes:

Another lesson to be drawn from the midterms is that voters, pundits, and pols need to learn patience, which is extra-difficult in the age of instant gratification. We all want things to be clear when Kornacki is working the big board on election night. The way votes are cast and counted in 2018 requires us to take a deep breath and be patient. Krysten Sinema’s victory was not confirmed until nearly a week later, which resulted in the coolest concession of the cycle featuring  a dog named Boomer:

Martha could afford to be gracious. She’s widely expected to McSally forth and be appointed to replace Jon Kyl in the late John McCain’s Senate seat. I guess they couldn’t find another guy named John or Jon.

Back to the virtue of patience. I, too, was impatient in calling my election wrap up post, Split Decision. It was instead a slow motion blue wave. House Democrats are on target to gain 38-40 seats, which is the most the party has gained since the 1974 post-Watergate wave. The worst case scenario in the Senate is a loss of two instead of the feared 4-6. Democrats are on track to win the national popular vote by 7+ points, which tops 2006 as well as the GOP wave years of 1994 and 2010. Absent Gerrymandering and Republican election fuckery, it would have been a slow motion tsunami.

Unlike some observers, I am more interested in the progress of the incoming 116th Congress than in speculating about who will run for president in 2020. Unfortunately, the MSM is more interested in horse races than in the reform agenda already being offered by House Democrats.

After two very grim years, these are heady times for Democrats. My fingers are crossed that they won’t blow it with foolish rebellions against the leadership. We’re in a national crisis. This is no time to replace Nancy Smash with a rookie leader. Do House Democrats need to figure out a long-term leadership succession plan? Absolutely, but now is not the time. It’s time to take the battle to the Republicans, not form a circular firing squad.

As a concession to the beginning of the post, let’s all go to the lobby:

 

Florida’s Gotta Florida

It’s not over until it’s over in a Florida election. Election weirdness has been discovered in heavily Democratic Broward County where there were some 24K fewer ballots cast for the Senatorial candidates than Goober guys, Gillum and DeSantis. Oops.

This could be incompetence instead of Brian Kemp-style fuckery but that remains unclear. What is clear that we’re in for a good old fashioned political brawl ala the 2000 Gore-Bush recount battle. Will there be a second Brooks Brothers riot without Roger Stone to stage it?

Josh Marshall focused on the Governor Bat Boy factor:

Things are getting ugly fast in Florida. Rick Scott, clearly thinking he’s going to fall behind in the vote count and lose his campaign for Senate, is both filing lawsuits to stop the vote counting in South Florida and using his police powers as governor to do so. As in Georgia, having the candidate oversee the election has real shortcomings.

<SNIP>

Scott actually said this …

“Late Tuesday night our win was projected about 57,000 votes. By Wednesday morning that lead dropped to 38,000 votes. By Wednesday evening, it was around 30,000 votes. This morning, it was around 21,000. Now, it is 15,000,.”

And then this.

“Every Floridan should be concerned that their could be rampant fraud happening in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.”

It looks like I’m going to lose … ergo there must be ‘rampant fraud’ … ergo I’m ordering the state police to investigate the election administrators.

I should apologize for the long quote but the man nailed it. It’s too early for me to use a hammer even if I had a Hankering Aaron to do so.

Josh’s post is titled Getting Ugly Fast. Anything involving Rick Scott is de facto ugly:

Ain’t nothing like a Michael F image in the morning. It’s almost as good as a cuppa Tom Petty style Joe. Why TP? Gainesville, y’all, Gainesville. Dig the Florida Gator guitar wielded by Heartbreaker Mike Campbell in this clip from their 40th anniversary show in Gainesville:

Back to Florida election weirdness. I’m feeling as low energy as former Governor Jeb Bush, so I’ll post two tweets I fired off last night:

Bill Nelson has run statewide in Florida 6 times, winning 5 elections. He knows his shit, y’all. Mayor Gillum should follow suit and pronto.

Repeat after me: it’s feeling like 2000 in Florida.