Category Archives: Elections

Confidence, Not Cockiness

I got another shrill fundraising email from MoveOn. In it, they warn that “Trump is winning” when all evidence to the contrary shows that he’s not. They warn that Democrats are overconfident about kicking Trump’s ass. I’m not a fan of fearmongering as a fundraising technique. It’s too Trumpy for my taste.

I realize that many remain traumatized by the 2016 election. Some even see Trump as an almost supernatural creature with demonic powers. It’s time to get over it and move on; pun intended, it always is.

President Pennwyise’s real superpower is this: Every time he opens his mouth, he loses votes. Here’s the latest example:

“So we’ve done a lot and we’re very proud of it and we had the best until this artificial problem ‘cause I call it an artificial problem,” Trump said.

“We had to turn off our country to save millions of lives and now we’ve turned it back on,” he continued. “And it’s coming back much faster than anybody thought possible.”

Over 124,00 and counting Americans have died because of this “artificial problem” and the Trump regime’s grotesque incompetence in addressing it. Sounds real to me, fuckhead.

Contrary to what MoveOn thinks there’s nothing wrong with confidence, it’s cockiness we need to guard against. The proverbial ball should remain unspiked until Joe Biden takes the oath of office next January. Does that sound overconfident to you? Trump is NOT winning.

I agree with veteran WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne:

But after 2016, overconfidence will never be the major problem. One of the most debilitating aspects of Trump’s rise is the extent to which it has undercut the confidence of many liberals and moderates in the common sense of a majority of the electorate. This attitude is anti-democratic and self-defeating. Understanding, as Reagan did, the potential to ignite a large coalition for change is the precondition for bringing it to life.

If we’re confident, we win. If we’re cocky or scared, we lose. The future belongs to the bold, not the timid. It’s that simple.

Trump is trying to run an outsider/insurgent campaign once again. It’s doomed to fail: he’s the incumbent. He has a record and a very bad one indeed. Reelection campaigns are ALWAYS about the incumbent. That’s the sound of confidence, not cockiness.

Joe Biden is being slammed by some for “campaigning from his basement.” In fact, he’s running a good campaign attuned to the moment by positioning himself as a calm and compassionate candidate in stark contrast to the fear and frenzy stirred up by the Impeached Insult Comedian who remains the Pigpen of American politics:

Team Biden also believes in two venerable rules of politics:

  1. If you give your opponent enough rope, they’ll hang themselves.
  2. If your opponent is destroying themselves, let them.

Repeat after me: Trump loses votes every time he opens his mouth. That’s confidence, not cockiness.

The last word goes to Graham Parker and includes a message for MoveOn:

Pun intended, it always is.

Blind Pig, Acorn

Hell has officially frozen over. I am writing for the first time in praise of the Turtle aka Mitch McConnell. He’s proven that there’s some truth in the hoary aphorism: “even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.”

In this case, the blind pig is wearing a mask:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday made an extensive pitch for Americans to don face masks as a means to begin returning the country to normalcy while the coronavirus remains a threat.

“There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask. There’s no stigma attached to staying six feet apart,” the Kentucky Republican said at an event back in his home state, referencing social distancing guidelines recommended to stem the transmission of the coronavirus.

<SNIP>

McConnell’s comments targeted at young people came after images of Americans partying over Memorial Day weekend flooded social media and drew rebukes from local health officials

“That’s not too much to ask of a younger person,” he said of wearing face coverings. “So to get through this next phase, as we ease back into normal, even if you’re in a low-risk category, do what we’re asking you to do for the good of others as we begin to move back to normal.”

Asked what lawmakers and federal officials can do to impart the benefits of wearing masks on fellow Americans, the majority leader said that he tries to set “a good example,” noting that there are photos of him “all over the place” wearing his mask and offering to put his back on and pose for more if necessary.

You know things are bad when President* Pennywise makes Moscow Mitch look good. The concept of setting a good example is utterly alien to Trump. It’s part of being an adult and a leader. He’s neither.

There’s also a cynical interpretation of the Turtle’s remarks. The most cynical man in American politics is slowly but surely putting some distance between himself and the Impeached Insult Comedian. McConnell can read both the tea leaves and the polls. The highly respected Cook Report believes that 9 senate seats are in play right now: 4 toss ups and 5 leaners. They’re are also 3 seats listed as likely GOP, which means they’re not out of reach if there’s a Democratic landslide. One of them is Kentucky, which should be solidly in the Republican camp.

The red wall is cracking. 5 more months of presidential* lunacy could see it crumble. Stay tuned.

American Carnage, 2020

Image by Michael F.

I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of sleeping badly.  I’m tired of having bad dreams inspired by death, disease, and the relentless flow of bad news. Above all else, I’m tired of Donald Trump. In short, as Civil Rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer said in 1964,  I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I woke up way too early this morning pondering President* Pennywise’s inaugural address. At the time, it seemed to be a blast from the misbegotten past of the crack cocaine epidemic or a twisted fantasy spun by Bannon and Miller:

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

The real carnage began that day. I didn’t see the speech because I was attending the Jazz Funeral For Lady Liberty protest march in New Orleans. I found the American Carnage line to be bizarre considering the progress made on the economy during the Obama presidency. I didn’t realize that it foreshadowed the dark days of 2020.

Trump’s presidency has reeled from one disaster to another. We all dreaded a major crisis occurring on his watch but assumed it would be a war in the Middle East, which is what Republican presidents do. Instead, we have a pandemic that has already killed more Americans than the wars in Korea and Vietnam combined. The pandemic, in turn, has caused a Second Great Depression that will not be cured by “reopened” shopping malls, barber shops, and restaurants.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has ostentatiously refused to take any responsibility for this American Carnage. Instead, he views it as a disaster afflicting him. This just in from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman:

As he headed into Memorial Day weekend, Donald Trump complained that he was COVID-19’s biggest victim. “He was just in a fucking rage,” said a person who spoke with Trump late last week. “He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me! Everything was going great. We were cruising to reelection!” Even as the death toll neared 100,000 and unemployment ranks swelled to over 38 million, Trump couldn’t see the pandemic as anything other than something that had happened to him. “The problem is he has no empathy,” the adviser said. Trump complained that he should have been warned about the virus sooner. “The intelligence community let me down!” he said.

Blaming the so-called Deep State won’t wash the blood off his hands. The buck for this American Carnage stops at the Oval Office. Unfortunately, we’ve gone from Harry (The Buck Stops Here) Truman to Donald (This Is So Unfair To Me) Trump whose latest title is the Buckpasser-in-Chief. This American Carnage is on him.

Perhaps my wakeful thoughts of the American Carnage speech were inspired by watching Rachel Maddow last night. She focused on the pandemic’s frightening impact on nursing homes and meatpacking plants. The latter debacle shows that this is a Republican problem, not just a Trumper problem. The GOP’s deregulatory fervor has tied OSHA’S hands. They issued some timid guidelines at the start of the crisis and nothing since then. I should have said that Republican Koch suckers have amputated OSHA’s regulatory hands. This American Carnage is on them.

One reason I’ve long thought the Kaiser of Chaos would lose re-election is that many Americans are sick and tired of being sick and tired. This president* believes that people can’t get enough of him. He’s wrong. He’s overexposed. Unlike past presidents, he’s incapable of leaving the spotlight. It will be his undoing.

Nobody other than Trumper true believers want to hear him accuse Joe Scarborough of murder. This is just the latest example of Trump’s specialty of tormenting families who have lost loved ones. Add the name Klausutis to the list that includes Khan and Johnson. This is not just a Trumper problem, it’s a Republican problem. Remember Terry Schiavo? This American Carnage is on them.

Waking up angry isn’t good for the soul but at least I have one. President* Pennywise only cares about himself, not the nearly 100,000 people who have died as a result of his grotesque incompetence. He’s falling back on medical quackery  vicious attacks, and magical thinking to salvage his wrecked presidency. One more quote from Gabe Sherman’s piece:

But the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a Trump-campaign reset is the candidate. “Trump is doing it to himself by tweeting idiotic conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough. Women are tired of this shit,” said another former West Wing official. An outside adviser agreed. “Trump can’t pivot to a different strategy,” the adviser told me. “He only knows one strategy—which is attack. It worked in 2016. But now it’s not what people are looking for.” The adviser told me that Trump’s New York friends are planning an intervention to get him to stop tweeting about the Morning Joe cohost.

And when he’s not feeling helpless or aggrieved, Trump continues to cling to magical thinking. “He lives in his own fucking world,” the outside adviser said. Trump recently told a friend that the Moderna vaccine is going to be ready in months.

Those of us who live in the real world think that another COVID-19 spike is coming because of the selfish Trumpian haste to “reopen.” The only thing they’re “reopening” is another death spiral. This American Carnage can only be stopped by voting Republicans out of office. This is on the American people. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, throw the bums out. It’s time for them to go.

Since this post was partially inspired by a bad dream, the last word goes to Procol Harum and the original Nosferatu, Max Schreck.

If you thought that was insufficiently gloomy, here’s another song from the same album:

 

Veepstakes, High Stakes

I’ve missed writing about electoral politics instead of pandemic politics. The former is fun, the latter funereal. Pun intended. It always is.

Signs of Republican panic are everywhere but, like Tammy Wynette in the old country song, they seem prepared to stand by their man even if the stupid fucker is insane. It also reminds me of this scene in the 1967 film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd:

Suffice it to say, the sheep rush headlong off the cliff whilst saying BAA BAA HUMBUG. I made that last bit up. Somebody needs to turn the end of that scene into an animated GIF but I’m not the one for the job. I couldn’t do it in a jiffy…

Where the hell was I? The 2020 election, that’s where. The GOP’s plan seems to be to kill off voters by “reopening” the economy then stealing as many votes from the survivors as possible. Fraud is the only way that a party with this much blood and red ink on its hands can win.

I’ve written multiple posts in the past called Veepstakes, Low Stakes. I’ve always believed that people vote for the top of the ticket, not the second banana. That’s still true BUT I’m reversing myself in 2020. The stakes are high: It matters more than ever who the Democrats pick for Veep.

In March, I advocated a Biden-Harris ticket. The arguments I made on her behalf while Sanders was still in the race stand:

The president in waiting bit is the key to the 2020 selection. There’s a decent chance that Biden or Sanders will only serve one term; either voluntarily or for health reasons. That’s why my first choice for Veep is Kamala Harris. She’s tough, experienced, and a helluva public speaker. She’s the obvious choice if Biden is the nominee. I know the arguments against Senator Harris but the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Plus, black voters rescued Biden’s campaign, which is another argument for the junior senator from California.

Things have changed in the past 2 months. The pandemic has exploded weakening the argument for a return to what Gamaliel called normalcy. Additionally, there’s an attempt to Frankenize Joe Biden. Will it work? I doubt it but it’s now a factor.

I find myself warming to the idea of Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren as Veep. I’ve made the argument against picking her myself: the Republican Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will pick her replacement. If Charlie Baker can find one, it will be a relatively sane Republican but a GOPer is a GOPer is a GOPer.

Politically, I’m increasingly optimistic that the Democrats will take back the Senate. Republican held seats in Maine, Colorado, and Arizona may already be lost and since the GOP Governor of Iowa seems determined to kill off as many citizens as possible, Joni Ernst is neck deep in pig shit. Landslides have a way of defeating incumbent senators who did not expect to lose. It’s one of many lessons taught by the Reagan sweep in 1980.

I’ve even seen one poll showing Moscow Mitch losing his race. Elderly senators have a way of losing their seats and before LBJ, the majority leadership seemed jinxed. I’m reluctant to think this *will* happen but the country elected a mentally ill criminal president* in 2016. Anything can happen.

I’m on the record as believing that Elizabeth Warren is the best person to be our next president. Biden’s age makes it imperative that his number two be the best person available. We’re facing a second Great Depression, which means that we need a Second New Deal. Nobody is better suited to deliver on this than Warren. Since Biden was empowered to be a strong Veep by Barack Obama, he’ll do likewise with his number two. Biden and Warren have even co-authored an op-ed piece, which advocates strong action in the place of abject presidential* failure.

If picking Warren appears too risky, I will be happy with Senator Harris in the second slot on the ticket. I would be just as happy with her as the next Attorney General.

Stay tuned.

The last word goes to Tammy Wynette and Lyle Lovett with the GOP’s 2020 theme song:

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Of Red Dawns, Unreliable Narrators & Putrid Protests

A lot of shit got real this week. The presidential race returned to the radar screen with endorsements of Joe Biden by former rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The latter stunned Rachel Maddow by giving a one-word answer when asked if she’d take second place on the ticket. The word was YES. I have mixed feelings about the idea. She’d be the best president in waiting BUT Dems would lose a senate seat and I still think Kamala Harris would be the best pick politically. Stay tuned.

I had planned to write separate posts about the subjects listed in the title. But as John Lennon once said, in another song better than Imagine, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Oh hell, I might as well post the video, it’s what I do:

That reminds me of another John Lennon tune from Double Fantasy, which is also much better than Imagine:

We’re all “just sitting here  watching the wheels go round and round” during the lockdown. It’s giving some people ants in their pants.

That brings me to our first subject. I know, it’s the last item in the post title but this fucking flows. Never mess with the fucking flow.

Putrid Protests: There are people tea-partying like it’s 2009. The Michigan protest was pure Teabaggery. It was intensified by Michigander MAGA Maggots who cannot abide a woman governor telling them what to do. I’m surprised nobody had a sign calling Gretchen Whitmer a Governess. That would require wit, which is a quality sadly lacking among the red hat set.

The most appalling thing about this idiotic protest can be seen in this tweet:

In a word: disgusting.

13,000 Michiganders died fighting for the Union in the War of the Rebellion. They died to purge the land of that fucking flag, you stupid motherfuckers. Fuck you. Uh oh, I’m turning into Jude. Fuck that shit.

Governor Whitmer was asked the Veep question by Rachel last night. She wasn’t having it and gave a wordy answer reminding the world that her plate is full right now. And Governor Whitmer strikes me as someone who always cleans her plate before moving on to the next task. Stay tuned.

It’s time for a visual transition:

Red Dawn was a fakakta 1984 movie hatched in the feverish brain of right-wing writer-director John Milius. It told the story of a Soviet invasion of God’s Country. Me, I prefer this comedic take:

Carl Reiner is wearing his angry rug in that lobby card. Fuck you, Alan Arkin.

Red Dawn is also an email string traded by concerned government scientists during the early days of the pandemic. The NYT published a story about it last weekend. It’s devastating to the political hacks and Trumper shitbirds who ignored their dire warnings.

My favorite bit came from an email

Dr. Lawler is an infectious disease specialist when not commenting on Trump’s March Of Folly.

Let’s try another visual transition. I really dug the last one.

The Ultimate Unreliable Narrator: The term unreliable narrator was coined in 1961 by Wayne C. Booth. It often applies to a crime fiction narrator who lies to readers; something I never do in Tongue In The Mail. End of shameless plug.

This unreliable narrator *is* committing a series of crimes but they’re not fictional, alas. I’m talking about the Impeached Insult Comedian who says something one day, changes his mind the next, and denies ever having said it on the third day, which is also the title of an early ELO album.

People keep falling for this nonsense and not just the MSM. My social media feeds were full of people freaking out over Trump’s “I have the power to adjourn Congress” bullshit. He does not and the idea was shot down by the Turtle on the second day. Get a grip, y’all. As some smart ass said on Twitter:

That’s why I call him the Ultimate Unreliable Narrator, the Kaiser of Chaos, the Impeached Insult Comedian, and President* Pennywise.

The last word goes to ELO with a tune from On The Third Day:

 

Who’s Going to Stop Him?

I mean, David Frum and Rick Wilson are now heroes of La Resistance, can you blame Trump for looking at this world and saying eh, they’ll forget about it in an hour? 

“Any normal politician would be worried about saying anything wrong about a disease like this,” says Ben Rhodes. “Trump, because he has an incapacity to be shamed, clearly felt a certain freedom to just stand up there and lie or to tweet things that weren’t true, because he knew in his mind that, if this does get bad, I can just always rewrite the history of it.”

It’s not because Trump doesn’t have the capacity to be shamed. This isn’t about his FEELINGS. It’s because actually nobody in his party will do anything to stop him.

We used to think of these things as like natural occurrences, right? Politician says or does something terrible, they get held to account. By the press! By the people’s outrage! By “history!” Hasn’t anyone noticed it doesn’t work like that anymore? That absent any opposition in power whatsoever, it’s apparently entire about sternly written letters and “more in sorrow than in anger” editorials chronicling the decline of the nation without doing anything about it.

I am optimistic about our chances of electing Joey B. Shark, because I have to be, because what is the option here. Despair isn’t a plan. I’m sure there are still people out there for whom “making things worse because THIS TIME PEOPLE WILL LEARN” is a plan, but spoiler alert, we’re all quarantined during a major pandemic because Fuckstick McGee couldn’t wrap his brain around it.

But that isn’t enough. We don’t have, as it turns out, a system that can withstand two people — the president and a powerful supporter in Congress — deciding to just not act like any of it matters. So how do we make it matter? We can’t just elect normies and be like oh, okay, this will never happen again. This will totally happen again, and while the prescient among us saw Trump coming the next time it might not be so obvious.

All the shit we hate right now? We need to enshrine prevention into law. All the things we think are so outrageous, and I’m not talking about moving someone’s chair in the press room, need to be prevented not by shame but by actual consequences. We can’t continue to have Democrats resign for scandals that barely ruffle Republicans’ feathers. We can’t keep being ruled by whoever can get the most people to call into C-SPAN and scream.

I am optimistic about electing Joey B. Shark but if we think that takes us back to normal, as he desperately does, by some kind of magic, we’re all kidding ourselves.

A.

 

 

 

Please Stop

I know “please everyone quit bitching on the internet” is like the least likely thing to actually happen but I figured I would try to talk about how awful we are all being about our preferred primary candidates right now.

Yes, all of us. Bernie Brothers. Even the Biden Bros. Maybe especially you three weirdos stanning Tulsi, whatever you’re about. What is the appeal?

I just log on every day and it’s “Biden is basically Trump” and “Bernie will never get anything done” and meanwhile the Republicans are over there debating how many people they can put on death-ships to offshore them so that the coronavirus numbers go down.

(Why are they even worried about that, honestly? We’ve been in a post-consequences-for-the-GOP world since approximately 1980 and 2016 made it clear that public opinion don’t matter for shit if Mitch ain’t moving. Stop acting like THIS ONE is gonna be THE THING that brings them down.

Nothing will bring them down but retaking the Senate so decisively that the five conservative Democrats who are always a pain in our asses don’t matter anymore, we get 75 Dems in there or nothing changes.)

We are spending all our time talking about how the Democratic Party is dumb and bad and rigged and conservative and can’t do anything right and I’m just … Can we please, while we are debating the best way to solve systemic racism and extreme income inequality, at least TRY to remember the GOP is fighting over who gets to hold the fire hoses and unleash the K-9s?

Maybe I just follow the wrong people but lately it’s just nonstop THIS IS WHY DEMOCRATS SUCK ASS every time crazy old Joey B. Shark eats his own kicks and I feel like REPUBLICANS HAVE GIVEN THEMSELVES OVER TO FASCISM BECAUSE THEY HAD TO LISTEN TO A BLACK MAN FOR 8 YEARS is getting lost here.

Can we direct some of the vitriol we’re pouring into our own coffees every morning into whatever human-based sludge McConnell has his leather slaves pump into him to keep him alive? Donate to Amy McGrath and THEN get on The Internet Dot Com to write a long post about how Kamala is a cop and Hillary should go away. Fucking Jesus, all I want to hear from now until the end of time is FUCK DONALD TRUMP, let this be our national anthem:

And I get that “Trump is bad” isn’t a platform or an argument except … kind of, it is? When nothing else gets through, when you can’t get coverage for anything that doesn’t have the T-word in it, when you pass hundreds of bills doing good things for America and YOUR OWN SUPPORTERS still bitch you out for not having a message or a plan and cable news idiots blame “gridlock in Congress,” you tell me how we should be spending our time.

I’m on record numerous times as saying I will vote for Bernie or Biden and likely in the IL primary Imma throw down for our first Jewish president because fuck health insurance, but if it’s Joe then it’s Joe because I don’t make these decisions by myself. If I did I’d be working at the President John F.President of You Kerry Presidential Center for Studying the Bizarre Hotness of Tall War Veterans or some shit.

We heard this shit with Kerry, too, so we all whined our way to another loss and then blamed him as if he personally suppressed votes in Ohio and then wiped his ass with the rule of law. We heard this shit with Hillary, as if she was responsible for not tickling your prostate just right when the future of America was on the line. When we have a nominee, I don’t want to fucking hear it anymore. I don’t want to hear it now. Pull your shit together, people. Joey Biden is going to have someone properly run the CDC. Bernard Sanders will take Stephen Miller out back and make him dig his own hole. Jesus, even Tulsi would protect reproductive rights.

Can we give our people a little credit, here?

A.

Veepstakes 2020

The 14 Veeps that became President.

I’m writing my quadrennial Veepstakes post early this year. I typically call it Veepstakes, Lowstakes but this year is different. Politically, I stand by the opening graph of my 2016 post:

I am on the record as believing that the second slot on any national ticket is worth what FDR’s First Veep, Cactus Jack Garner, said about the office itself: “It’s not worth a bucket of warm piss.” Vice Presidential speculation is strictly a parlor game for the media and political junkies. Geographical balance is irrelevant, as is ideological balance or imbalance for that matter. The only reason the pick is of any significance is as an example of the nominee’s judgment. J Danforth Quayle was a terrible pick but Poppy Busy won 426 electoral votes in 1988. And Sarah Palin didn’t lose the 2008 election, Senator Walnuts did a bang up job of that himself.

The reason the Vice Presidential pick is more significant in 2020 is the age of the Democratic frontrunners. Joe Biden is 77 and Bernie Sanders is 78. It’s a bit depressing that our choice is so geriatric but life sucks, then you die. So it goes.

Some people persist in thinking that a running mate can help win an election. With the possible exception of Lyndon Johnson, it’s never worked out that way. People vote for the top of ticket and/or the party, not the Veep.

Two of the better Democratic picks of my lifetime sent a signal to the party and voters. In 1976, Jimmy Carter selected Fritz Mondale to reassure liberals that they could trust a Southern Governor. In 1992, Bill Clinton selected Al Gore to send a generational message. Ironically, both Clinton (73) and Gore (71) are younger than Biden and Sanders.

Twitter can be useful in focusing your thoughts. There, I said something nice about the tweeter tube. Here’s what I said there after the Super Tuesday Biden surge:

The president in waiting bit is the key to the 2020 selection. There’s a decent chance that  Biden or Sanders will only serve one term; either voluntarily or for health reasons. That’s why my first choice for Veep is Kamala Harris. She’s tough, experienced, and a helluva public speaker. She’s the obvious choice if Biden is the nominee. I know the arguments against Senator Harris but the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Plus, black voters rescued Biden’s campaign, which is another argument for the junior senator from California.

Team Sanders floated a bizarre and unserious list a while back. I say unserious because it included Nina Turner and Tulsi Gabbard. Neither is remotely qualified to be president and they’re both a bit nutty. I’m would hope that the Democratic party would be unwilling to accept a running mate who voted for Jill Stein in 2016.

Since Senator Professor Warren is dropping out of the race, a masterstroke for Sanders would be to ask her to be his running mate. He’d have to overcome irrational Bernie Bro sentiment against her but it makes more sense than Tulsi Fucking Gabbard.

In the end, voters cast their ballots for the top of the ticket and the party, not the vice presidential candidate. That’s why either septuagenerian contender needs to pick someone qualified to be the 47th president. We’ve experimented with an unqualified president*. Look where it got us.

The last word goes to The Who:

 

INSTANT ANALYSIS: JOEMENTUM

As much as I hate to quote the dread Joe Lieberman in a post title, it works. Before South Carolina, the punditocracy had declared it a two-geezer race between Sanders and Bloomberg with the former as the likely nominee. My candidate, Elizabeth Warren, had a terrible night but it’s still refreshing to see the wind knocked out of the pundits’ sails. Nobody saw the Biden surge coming and if they claim they did, they’re lying.

I knew I would not be alone in using the phrase Joementum but as Bob Marley said, “who the cap fit, let them wear it.” At least I’m not claiming that I saw this coming. I did not. It shows the importance of having 100% name recognition and close ties to a popular former Democratic president. It also shows the importance of ignoring the posers of political Twitter who were certain that nobody would vote for Biden because nobody in their echo chamber supported him. Never mistake social media for the real world.

I’m not exactly celebrating this morning because Biden is not my first choice. MSM sexism and the voters’ fear of losing to Trump gutted the Warren campaign. I remain convinced that she would be the best nominee and general election candidate, but I’ve felt the same way about past candidates who weren’t nominated. She proved her mettle with her brilliant and savage takedown of Bloomberg. Team Warren is making brave noises about continuing but finishing third in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes their argument a weak one. I still plan to vote for Senator Professor Warren in the Louisiana primary.

Team Sanders and its mouthiest supporters are already playing last night as a triumph for their candidate, despite losing Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Maine. He *did* win California and thus far has 33% of the vote with many ballots to be counted. Biden’s come from behind victory in Texas was quite frankly gobsmacking since Team Sanders has made substantial inroads into the Hispanic vote; something they’ve failed to do with black voters. Nobody without substantial African American support can or should win the Democratic nomination.

In retrospect, it shouldn’t shock people that voters want a safe hand to replace Trump. Suburban college-age women drove the Democrats victory in 2018, not “woke” Twitterati. Btw, I hate the term woke: it’s pompous, pretentious and a plethora of other P words.

People are tired of waking up and learning about the latest outrage or scandal perpetrated by this president* and his people. Many want a calm and normal person as their next president after 4 years of the Trump freak show. I don’t think Charlie Pierce completely nails it but there’s something to his Biden-Harding comparison.

An even more interesting analogy comes from my friend Joe Casale’s Facebook feed:

Joe Biden is the 1996 version of Joe Torre with the Yankees. Torre was a baseball lifer like Biden is a political lifer.

Torre had some success as a manager. Like Biden, Torre never won the big one. The World Series.

The day Joe Torre was hired as manager of the Yankees, the NY Daily News headline was, Clueless Joe.” Sound familiar?

What happened? Under Torre, the Yankees became a dynasty. They won 4 World Series in 5 years.

Joe Torre was the right guy at the right time for a team that was ready to win. The perfect fit.

In many ways, so is Joe Biden. If you look around, you can assemble a pretty good team of policy makers among Democrats. Assembling the right team around Biden (with his VP choice being the most important decision) will be vital for his chances to win.

Done right, Joe Biden could be the country’s version of Joe Torre with the Yankees.

For the country’s sake, that should make everyone a Yankees fan. At least for one day.

Not gonna happen, my friend. I may hate the Dodgers more than the Yankees but I’m only willing to bend my principles so far. I’m not running for office, after all.

I’ll have something tomorrow about the Veepstakes, which will be more important than usual since the two leading candidates are both septuagenarians. I wanted to publish this post quickly because when I say instant analysis, I mean it.

The last word goes to Jimi Hendrix and Ella Fitzgerald with a couple of Joe songs:

We May Just Possibly Have to Get Over Ourselves

No, I am not writing about the Chapo thing, because it’s the usual “NYT anthropological expedition into a thing we know not of, for we are above the fray” bullshit but this is only going to get louder: 

This time around, the Bernie Bro charge is different. It’s widely known that Sanders supporters are extremely diverse in terms of gender and race and class, and the notion that only those “privileged” can afford to adopt a more radical worldview has been revealed to be absurd, as it always was. The second prong of the archetype has manifested again, though, but in a different form. Now the claim is that Sanders supporters online are disproportionately likely to be cruel and obnoxious, or bully and harass people.

Unfortunately I think this claim has some legitimacy. And I think that the many Sanders supporters online who are going to lengths to rationalize or defend the adversarial style are too plugged in to the incentives of social media popularity contests and out of touch with what it will take to win an election and build a sustainable leftist movement.

AND OH MY GOD, GET PAST IT.

I see a LOT of people out here going “vote blue no matter who” for assholes like Bloomberg but then appending “Bernie isn’t really a Democrat” or some shit, like that matters when literally the other candidate is Trump.

I am not a Bernie stan. But goddamn I will get there with a quickness if he’s the nominee. This is true of Joey B Shark and all the others, my preference for Warren notwithstanding. I will quit my job and follow Bernard around in a panel van. There are things about him that are cool as hell and I don’t care that his supporters are loud assholes. Come on, that’s not a reason to do or not do anything.

Because the other candidate is Trump and his merry band of blithering fucksticks.

I don’t care where on the doll Bernie touched you in 2016. I don’t care how unsuitable you think he is. If he’s ours, he’s ours. Jesus H. Tits, we can’t DO this again. I said this last week and I’ll keep saying it until the convention if I have to. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic; do you really think the Sanders Administration would hold a prayer meeting to deal with this? The difference between parties MATTERS.

Do you really think the Sanders Administration would appoint the cabinet we have now? This is important. Who someone brings with them is important. Had Trump surrounded himself with COMPETENT minions of Satan, we’d be having a lot fewer conversations about how we were all gonna die.

(Nothing matters if we don’t take back the Senate, so fuck you very much, Mikey B and Tom Steyer, for wasting all your money on your vanity candidacies, that’s the one internet bitch-fight I’m definitely picking a side in.)

You know what’s going to “destroy the left?” Losing to Trump. Losing to Trump and Mitch and another four years of these assholes. It’s going to destroy the left, the center, for what it’s worth the right, and seven people are going to get rich while lots more of us die. THAT is the destruction we have to be afraid of, not dudes being pricks on the internet.

I fully expect everyone to be on board with our future first Socialist Jewish President by the end of the summer if that’s the way the chips fall.

Because the other candidate is Trump.

A.

U Is For Unpredictable

I started using the image of Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock in Safety Last during the 2018 campaign. It captured my worries and concern for that election, which turned out well. The 2020 election is feeling even more fraught as Democrats seem hell bent on pulling defeat from the jaws of victory.

I was in the Carnival bubble all weekend, which is a lovely place to be. We had a small group of friends over yesterday to cheer on friends who rode in the King Arthur parade. When I came back to reality this morning, I wished I hadn’t pulled that pesky sword from the stone.

Donald Trump is a historically unpopular president* who is rightly seen as a menace by more than half the populace. He is beatable but he’s an incumbent with deep pockets and a willingness to cheat. He may well blow things up but Democrats are back to slashing at one another and sabotaging their chances in the fall. Once again, they’re missing the big picture. Campaigns are about themes and stories. While a positive message is needed, it need not be detailed. Take a look at FDR’s platform in 1932. He knew that the only issue was the failings and failures of the incumbent. In 2020, the most important issue is TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP.

I am, however, enjoying the takedowns of Mike Bloomberg. A 78-year-old misogynist and racist with a habit of changing parties when it’s expedient should not be the Democratic nominee. The guy supported Bush in 2004 fer chrissake.

I had high hopes for the Democratic field last year but the winnowing process has been brutal. I remain frustrated that Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has floundered. Here’s how I put it on the tweeter tube in a response to Herriman biographer and parade route book signer Michael Tisserand:

I’m going to emulate my pal Dakinikat and present some Monday Reads, since on the whole I’d rather be in the Carnival bubble.

First, a piece by former Harry Reid aide, Adam Jentleson: Why Don’t We Know Which Democratic Candidate Can Beat Trump? A reminder that Harry Reid urged Senator Professor Warren to run for president time around. Here’s hoping that Nevada Democrats know that.

NYT Op-ed columnist David Leonhardt poses a haunting question given the caliber of some  of the candidates who dropped out of the race: Did Biden Scare Off Our Next President?

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Debenedetti takes a trip to Obama World: What Obama Is Saying In Private About The Democratic Primary.

Finally, the Washington Monthly’s David Atkins on my preferred candidate: Warren Is Paying The Price for Her Honesty. And Her Gender.

Finally, a message from Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush to despairing Democrats:

Your Mike B Feelings, Internet

All right, look.

Bloomberg, a rich racist asshole, would obviously be terrible.

Everyone is still mad at Bernie from 2016 and other stuff, he is 467 years old and a second heart attack waiting to happen.

Pete is … who the fuck is Pete, fuck Pete. Fuck South Bend and Notre Dame and every Republican in Indiana.

And yet.

Any of the three of them, and a sentient bag of dogshit besides, would likely sacrifice fewer of our children on the altars of endless gun violence, war with Iran, asylum and immigration bans, and cuts to food stamps.

Which is really what this is about. Every candidate on our side is going to be a dirtball in some massive way. Two weeks ago I’d resigned myself sincerely to Democratic nominee Joe Biden and was talking myself into him. I can do the same with Bloomberg and Pete and Bernie.

(Liz, obviously, is my first choice.)

I can talk myself into Tom Steyer or, who’s the other people, whoever, given enough time and *gestures vaguely at everything.*

Bernie’s campaign seems to be having lots of fun online and he’s gonna do his best to not have everybody die of medical bankruptcy. These things MATTER. The party platform matters. The aims of the campaigns matter. It is still being framed as who you’d have a beer with, now, in the year of Our Lord Blue Ivy 2020. As if people don’t depend on politics to live.

We’re still on national news on winners and losers and who’s up and who’s down and talking about strategy is so much easier than talking about dead kids. That’s what politics is: how do you want your kids to die? Of old age, warm and safe in their homes? Or on the street, in school, on a battlefield, too young to have ever even known love?

That’s the decision you’re making, every time you go and vote, and it infuriates me to no end that one party can have an endless debate over how to actually keep your living children that way while the other one is over there debating shot versus starved versus preventable disease in terms of cost-efficiency and pleasingness to Prosperity Jesus.

And we talk about a Bloomberg vs. Trump contest as if it would be “two billionaires.” First of all, as Mikey B has himself pointed out, Trump ain’t. Second, WHICH BILLIONAIRE STILL FUCKING MATTERS. We had a two-billionaires fight in Illinois recently and one of them shut down the government for three years out of spite and the other one not only runs things fairly decently, he gave us legal weed. They were not the same, and neither are Bloomberg and Trump.

I don’t love that the only voices at the top of our politics are rich ones, but that being unlikely to change in the next SIX GODDAMN MONTHS, can we please at least acknowledge that some rich people are going to be worse for the general public than others?

There’s so much to bitch about when it comes to the actual candidates. There are differences that actually matter. “Bernie’s supporters are rude online and so he’s JUST LIKE TRUMP” is not an argument and neither is “Bloomberg is rich and so is Trump and that just proves that EVERYTHING IS GARBAGE.”

(I got nothin’, with regard to Pete, I don’t understand the appeal of that weird little squirrel at all, but still: not like Trump in any way.)

This election, like all elections, is about who is going to give you a better life. It’s easy for me, the white mother of a white kid, to say Bloomberg wouldn’t be terrible for me. It’s easy for me, done having children, to discount someone’s squishiness on reproductive rights, and it’s easy for me, middle-class who went to college before that required crushing debt, to say that for shit’s sake at least a couple of the candidates have A Plan if not All The Plans.

But. We have the choices we have, and we’re gonna make the choice we make, and when we have to, whoever it is, even if it’s fuckin’ Pete, none of them will be anything like Trump. I’ve been hearing about refusing to choose the lesser evil my whole life and guess what, we tried the thing where we chose the greater one.

How’s that working out for us?

A.

Taken For Granite

I usually love elections as much as MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki. He has his big board whereas I’m a bit bored by the early stages of the 2020 Democratic race. Some of the candidates who excited me dropped out: Booker, Harris, and Castro. And the candidate I support, Senator Professor Warren is still in the race but gasping for breath after a dismal performance in the Granite State.

Perhaps it’s not boredom but the fact that what’s going on in the nation’s capital is more captivating as well as frightening. The only lesson the Impeached Insult Comedian has learned is that he can get away with anything as long as his party backs him up. More on that later today.

Bernie Sanders was the winner last night but given his spectacular performance in the 2016 Granite State primary, his victory feels a bit underwhelming. He polled about half the number of votes as in 2016 and won with the lowest percentage of the vote of any candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976. He’s going to need a big victory somewhere to overcome the animosity his supporters have sown among Democrats. If he looks like a winner against Trump, people will come around. That’s what really matters, y’all.

I still don’t get former Mayor Pete’s appeal. He has a great comms staff and strategy and buckets of billionaire bucks. Otherwise, he’s the least qualified Democratic candidate in recent memory. Of course, the GOP topped us when they nominated Trump. That should serve as a cautionary tale as to why Democrats need a qualified nominee. And there’s a helluva mess to clean up after Trump shat in the national bed for four years.

Amy Klobuchar’s support had a growth spurt and she finished a solid third. Her speech was the best of the evening. She wisely aimed it at the country, not at the people in the room. It will be interesting to see how she handles the attacks that will be forthcoming now that she’s done well at the ballot box.

Biden had a terrible night. The man with universal name recognition finished fifth. Biden’s campaign considers South Carolina their firewall but he’s slipped everywhere, and it will happen there as well. The third time is not the charm: it’s slip sliding away.

Despite her fourth-place finish, Warren is a fighter and will soldier on. Her supporters on social media are in denial about how bad last night was. Massachusetts pols have traditionally done well in the Granite State including the least charismatic Greek in history, Paul Tsongas. It’s going to be hard for her to raise money after her single digit finish. If you’re a hardcore Warren supporter, donate today. I plan to.

I hope the candidates will learn something from Bloomberg’s anti-Trump media blitz. They’ve spent too much time in the weeds debating the details of their health care proposals and whatnot. Elections are not won on policy details; they’re won with themes and stories. Besides, there’s only one issue in this campaign: TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP. That’s the story, morning glory.

Repeat after me: The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. The Democratic nominee needs to douse the fire, win, and rebuild our democratic institutions.

A final note about the process. The Iowa clusterfuck should lead to the abolition of caucuses. They exclude everyone who cannot devote an entire day to caucusing, which is inherently anti-democratic. The results from Iowa remain murky whereas they’re clear in New Hampshire. That’s a difference that shouldn’t be taken for granite.

Since I gave myself an earworm, the last word goes to Oasis:

Chaos-Causing Shitlords

I don’t for a second actually think Trump was in any way scared of Biden:

The point in all this isn’t to elect Biden, or re-elect Trump, or elect Trump or Hillary in the first place. What Putin wants is a dumb game to try to figure out, and what Republicans want is even dumber. They want to set shit on fire and dance around the flames yelling UR OWNED LIBS. They want to be DISRUPTION. They’ve seen way too many movies where people rebuild a society from the rubble and so they’ve taken to the dynamite. It’s childish and nihilistic but you tell me, what else better defines the average Republican these days.

That’s the thing we forget, the Washington “we” that marvels over Trump’s State of the Union and then expresses shock and horror when he turns back into a dickhole the next day. We forget we didn’t elect a politician and he didn’t hire politicians. We’re used to evil that dots the i’s and crosses the t’s and has an actual agenda beyond OH YEAH FUCK YOUR MOM. There is no, like, goal here. They just like being loud and mean.

And so Trump’s acquittal works perfectly in this context: now we have cause to doubt the results of the next presidential election, either because Trump’s out here screaming VOTER FRAUD like some kind of demented parrot, or because Rudy’s back on a plane to whoever asking them to screw with us for a buck. The feeling of panic and despair? That’s what they truly want.

I have yet to come up with a solution for not giving it to them that doesn’t involve a turnout so overwhelming, from sea to shining sea, that it cannot be questioned. Register and vote and if anybody tells you they aren’t doing the same, take them by the ear and drag them to the polls in November. Even if it’s for Pete. Even if it’s for Biden. Even if it’s for Mike Bloomberg. That’s all I’ve got right now.

A.

Score One For The Luddites

Some people love complexity. They think that technology can solve all problems and that an untested app can be used in the electoral process. I am neither a technophobe nor a Luddite but there are some things that should be as low-tech as possible: voting is one of them.

The best argument I’ve seen in favor of simplicity is by New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose:

After Monday’s Iowa caucus debacle, I’ve decided that Americans should vote by etching our preferred candidate’s name into a stone tablet with a hammer and chisel.

Or maybe by dropping pebbles into a series of urns, as the ancient Greeks did.

Or possibly just by voting the way we voted for much of the 20th century, on analog punch-card machines that spit out paper ballots to be hand-counted by election workers, with zero iPhones in sight.

Basically, we should be begging for the most analog election technology possible. Because what happened on Monday night — a long and confusing delay in vote counting, due in part to a mobile app that was hastily designed and inadequately tested before being deployed in one of America’s most important elections — was an inexcusable failure. It caused distress and confusion, set off innumerable conspiracy theories, and started the 2020 election season by undermining trust in the democratic process.

The World War II generation was on to something with this slogan: KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID. We should pay heed to it and make the electoral process as analog as possible. The Impeached Insult Comedian cheated in 2016 and he will cheat again in 2020.

There are some ridiculous ideas floating around on social media among those who are conspiratorially minded:

First, the Iowa appocalypse is somehow a conspiracy by dark forces. Wrong. Software is glitchy. I believe in considering the simplest possible answer to any question: incompetence is usually the answer. Conspiracies do exist but they’re rarer than fuck ups.

Second, the DNC is behind the non-existent conspiracy. Wrong. The Iowa Caucuses are run by the state party. Primaries are run by the states. The DNC has nothing to do with either. The DNC is now and has always been a weak institution, not the KGB of the 21st Century.

Third, Trump wants to cancel the general election. Wrong. He doesn’t have the power to do so because the states run the election. Additionally, he’s desperate to be loved so he wants to run and win. President* Pennywise’s threat to the election is cheating. Repeat after me: he cheated in 2016 and he will do it again in 2020.

My solution to all of this dumbassery is to revive Civics classes. People have no idea how the government really works so they listen to trolls and idiots on social media. That’s what happens when schools spend all their time teaching students to take tests, not to think. Thinking is important and it’s an increasingly rare commodity in our country.

It’s time to post the Think Flag:

That is all.

 

Random Thoughts

I know what you’re thinking: all my thoughts are random. I stand accused and plead guilty as charged. I have some shame unlike some people. I mean a certain Impeached Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his. Fucker has no shame. He can’t wait to take his “victory” lap and brag about his “triumph.” It’s likely to be short-lived.

I want to assure Tommy T that I have his back while he’s having back issues. I’m not posting as early as he does because I try to keep normal hours. If only I could succeed in doing so. I woke up stupidly early this morning but not:

Iowa Blues: I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when the Iowa Caucuses are over. Polling them is notoriously unreliable and if the weather sucks, all bets are off. This is one time being a voter’s second choice is not a bad thing. If less than 15% support a candidate in the first round, they either leave or move to another candidate. It’s how Athenae’s boyfriend, John Kerry, won Iowa in 2004.

I pine for the days when Iowa didn’t matter. It’s all Jimmy Carter’s fault. He made it a thing in 1976. I loathe caucuses, they’re anti-Democratic and way too important for a small, rural, mostly white state.

Removal Trial Blues: I’m DVRing final arguments. I don’t have the heart to watch them live. The GOP’s misconduct should bite them in the ass come November. Typing that sentence felt good. I am trying mightily to remain a glass half full person. The numbers are on our side. Plus, President* Pennywise is bound to overreach and ask for help from Macedonia or some such shit.

Last Week Krewe Of Spank Blues: I don’t actually have the KdV blues, there’s just so much to do and only a few days to do it. This strikes me as a good time to link to last year’s minor masterpiece, Confessions of a Krewe du Vieux Member; written for the Bayou Brief before I became the 13th Ward Rambler. Speaking of which, I have some rambling to do so I need to sign off soon.

I have nothing to say about the Super Bowl. I was watching The Sorrow and the Pity. I am not making this up. I guess I stand accused of being a bad American. At least I know where Kansas City is located.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello:

Enough Already

Twitter is extra stupid this morning. It’s ablaze with a pitched battle between Sanders and Warren supporters with the former being particularly inflammatory. They seem to have forgotten CNN’s debate track record; they go for gotcha moments with gusto.

I used to watch CNN in the days of Bernie Shaw and Aaron Brown but it’s all about giant panels and loaded questions in the 21st Century. That’s why I skipped the debate and didn’t even DVR it. Enough already.

I like what Charlie Pierce had to say about this ridiculous flap:

…the Warren-Sanders business is going to be what people take away from Tuesday night. I have no idea what was said during the famous conversation about whether a woman can be elected president. But the response from the Sanders supporters, especially on the electric Twitter machine, has been so hysterically over the top—Responding with snake emojis? That’s only the oldest misogynistic smear of all time, going all the way back to Genesis.—that it does make me wonder whether or not there’s something in that campaign that attracts the Democratic equivalent of the incel boys. I hope it stops soon, but I doubt that it will.

It was inevitable that politics would break out between two candidates trying to be *the* candidate of the Democratic party’s portside. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. I see nothing in Bernie Sanders’ platform that would cause me NOT to vote for him in the general election. I’m a Warren supporter BUT the problem is not Bernie, it’s the Berners. Enough already.

We need a coalition, the proverbial big tent, to deliver a well-deserved comeuppance to Trump and his GOP lackeys. I think that Warren gets that. Hell, I think Senator Sanders gets that, but his supporters want to take over the Democratic party and burn it down. That’s nuts. We need all hands on-deck to beat Trump. He’s the real enemy, not moderate Democrats. Enough already.

The other thing that bugs the living shit out of me is that not enough people are talking about the Parnas files. It appears that an American ambassador was under surveillance approved by Crazy Rudy. The Impeached Insult Comedian might have okayed it There’s even a suggestion that Ambassador Yovanovitch’s life may have been in jeopardy. That’s a helluva lot more important than a he-said she-said squabble. Enough already.

People need to prioritize. The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. I will vote for any Democratic candidate even one of the plutocrats, the unqualified Hoosier, or the former Veep who has lost his fastball. POTUS* may have authorized a hit on an American ambassador. That’s infinitely more important than what sort of pundit Bernie Sanders is and what Elizabeth Warren had to say about a private meeting. Enough already.

I’d like to paraphrase a  classic 2016 post by Athenae, I’m Done With All Your Liz and Bernie Feelings, Internet. Enough already.

Johnny Mercer didn’t say anything about prioritizing in the song below, but we need to organize our thoughts and accentuate the positive. The last word goes to Dr. John:

 

2020 Candidates In A Word

I haven’t been as wrapped up in the 2020 presidential campaign as I usually am by this stage. Instead, I’ve been following the twists and turns of the impeachment inquiry. It’s hard not to. The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. I hate to give that stupid evil fucker the attention he wants but it’s imperative that his malefactions be exposed whatever happens in the Senate.

I thought I’d dip my toe back in the campaign pond by giving my impressions of the candidates in one word. It won’t be easy for a writer who dubbed his Bayou Brief column 13th Ward Rambler. I like words and word play but sometimes you gotta keep it short; unlike this introduction. If I miss anyone, too fucking bad. I’m including some of the dearly departed candidates for shits and giggles.

DEMOCRATS:

  • Biden:                Garrulous.
  • Sanders:            Grouchy.
  • Warren:             Brilliant.
  • Buttigieg:          Unqualified.
  • Bloomberg:       Plutocrat.
  • Booker:               Warm.
  • Klobuchar:         Smiley.
  • Steyer:                 Who?
  • Gabbard:            Troll.
  • Castro:                Impressive.
  • Patrick:               Late.
  • Bennet:               Eyebrows
  • Yang:                   Why?
  • Harris:                 Enigmatic.
  • Delaney:             Bald.
  • O’Rourke:          Gestural.
  • Williamson:       Flaky.
  • Sestak:                Huh?
  • Swalwell:           Young.
  • Gillibrand:         Blonde.

REPUBLICANS:

  • Trump:               Asshole.
  • Weld:                  Patrician.
  • Walsh:                Teabagger.
  • Sanford:            Olé.

I realize that the columns are crooked but so is the Current Occupant. I did them manually without resort to a manual or a chap named Manuel:

The last word goes to Yes and The Beatles:

Impeachment: Where Do We Go From Here?

I’ve been in the weeds of the impeachment hearings the last two weeks. It’s time to pause, take a deep breath, and look at the big picture.

The post title poses a rhetorical question: where do we go from here? It beats the hell outta me. Anyone who makes confident assertions or predictions is running a fool’s errand, which could be called pulling a Sondland.

As of today, the House will impeach on a party-line vote. There are some key witnesses we’d all like to hear from: Pompeo, Bolton, and Mulvaney to name a few. Slugging this out in the courts looks like a Sondland aka fool’s errand. There is a possible alternative: witnesses can be called in the Senate and it would be up to Chief Justice Roberts.  Josh Marshall has more about this at TPM.

As of today, the Senate will NOT vote to remove BUT the situation is more fluid than people believe. I think there are multiple Republican Senators willing to vote FOR at least one article of impeachment. But they’ll only do it if there are enough of them: five or more. Willard Mittbot Romney is the one to watch: he’s bulletproof in Utah and not on the ballot until 2024.

The reasons for any GOP removal votes will not be elevated ones. They won’t do it out of patriotism but out of self-preservation. In short, they’ll pull a Sondland if it looks like the GOP will be slaughtered at the ballot box in 2020. I suspect the Mittbot would like to be the Brigham Young of his party if electoral disaster looms.

A quick reminder that Republicans are 24% of registered voters. They cannot win without conservative leaning independents; many of whom are sick of Trump’s antics. Repeat after me: There’s gold in them thar suburbs.

The Turtle wants to preserve his majority as well as his own seat. Right now there are three GOP seats in serious jeopardy: Maine, Arizona, and Colorado. Georgia looks promising: when there are two Senate seats up in the same election, one party tends to win both. Doug Jones in Alabama is the most vulnerable Democrat by far but the prospect of a GOP donnybrook gives him a chance to hang on. Roy Moore, Jeff Sessions, and Donald Trump may give him a path to victory.

One overlooked possibility is Senate GOPers pressuring Trump to make up some cockamamie story and resign. It would have to be coupled with a threat of removal votes but it would serve their interests to get Trump to quit. Some say this is impossible: I disagree. Trump changes his mind on a daily basis about purt near everything.

I am opposed to impeaching Pence alongside Trump. He may deserve it but we should want someone tied to the Trump scandals to be the Republican nominee in 2020. Acting president Pelosi would only fuel GOP “coup” talk. It’s why Carl Albert wanted Jerry Ford confirmed quickly in 1974.

I have no idea which, if any, of these theories will play out in real life. One thing I know for sure is that the Insult Comedian’s fatal inability to STFU will continue to make things worse. Thanks, Donald

The last word goes to The Band:

Name. The. Problem.

No, not racism. For once. Well, kind of racism. Gimme a sec here, Pete. 

Do you wanna know something about partisanship? Partisanship is good. Partisanship is the whole reason we have a democracy. I have no interest in finding common ground with fucking Trump voters or with other assorted white supremacists. I have no interest in making sure those groups don’t feel demonized. I have no interest in making them feel COMFORTABLE when they have made so many Americans, and the world beyond, feel the precise opposite. I’m allowed to be angry at the state of things and I’m sure as hell allowed to loudly call out those responsible for it. I want to vehemently oppose those people, and guess what? I live in a country where I’m free to do that. I don’t like being told I’m out of line for doing so. So you’ll excuse me if I’m not exactly inspired by some South Bend pud who has no stomach for that fight, and doesn’t want me to have it either.

The usual caveats apply here: Pete is not remotely a problem in the way literally any Republican is, and would in fact probably be fine as president, and if he is our nominee I will enthusiastically vote and campaign for him because I’m not a fucking child.

But we are not having problems in this country because we are too partisan. We are not too divided. We do not hate each other too much. This isn’t about our feelings. This is about how we just got laid off and our parents got deported and our health insurance costs $5,000 a month to pay for nothing if we get hit by a bus and we can’t afford to work if we have kids and we can’t afford not to work if we have kids and when are you going to have kids already, you’re not getting any younger, and if you live in the country you’re a dumb hick and if you live in the city you’re a commie and oh, by the way, your street hasn’t been repaired since 1989 because we can’t afford it, vote to cut taxes again please.

Those problems are not “partisanship.” They’re not “division.”

We’ve been told so many times that our society is polarized because polarization just happened, probably because of our phones and social media, as if Facebook magically makes you mean and racist as opposed to exposing you to what your nice Aunt Jean-Marie really thinks. We hear this so many times from so many people we actually think it’s true.

It’s not true.

We’re “more polarized” because for once a whole hell of a lot more of us are being heard and the things we’re hearing about from our fellow Americans fucking suck and we’re feeling the urge to do something about it and the people in charge cannot have that.

So we hear about how bad it is to hear from so many people, about so many things they care about.

We hear that we’re so divided now. But we’ve always been divided and the problems we are having are not because of that that division. They’re because we’re being told any solution to the problem is beyond us and so all that’s left is to get madder and madder. When you let people tell you what’s wrong — and that’s over, cats and kittens, you can’t stop the signal — and then tell them to just, like, sit with that? Because we just, I dunno, can’t, or whatever, you wind up with the kind of rage that we’re seeing now.

And that rage frightens people. I get it, I’m a middle class white chick, I am likely first up against the wall, but my fear isn’t, you know, a thing I get to project on everybody else by telling them to sit down and shut up.

So the next time someone tells you the problem is we’re just too divided, ask them to articulate what that means, what that really means. And if they bring up some cable news asshole or Trump or someone speaking Spanish in the store, or sputter that this is just something everybody knows, then you’ll know you aren’t actually dealing with any kind of problem, and you don’t need to worry about their concerns.

Push on. We’ve got real things to do here. We have a limited amount of time on this planet and spending it worried that the cable news audience is upset is not, shall we say, a good use.

A.