Category Archives: Elections

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.

Gret Stet Goober Race Update

I’ve haven’t written much about the Louisiana Governor’s race here for a couple of reasons. First, my Gret Stet ramblings are on display at the Bayou Brief nowadays. Second, the race is depressing for a variety of reasons that I’ll describe below.

In 2015, I was enthusiastic about the candidacy of Blue Dog Democrat John Bel Edwards. Why? He was running against David Vitter who, while good for the satire biz, scared the shit out of me as a potential Gret Stet Goober. When Edwards won, he became a dragon slayer. I am still grateful for that.

Edwards’ record as Governor has been fairly good. He undid some of the damage done by Bobby Jindal to state government with Medicaid expansion being his greatest accomplishment.

As he approached re-election, Edwards has moved steadily to the right capped off by the horrible abortion bill he signed in May. Here’s what I said earlier this month about Edwards and reproductive rights at the Bayou Brief:

I voted for Edwards in 2015 knowing that he was anti-choice. If he was a no-exceptions right to lifer then, I did not want to know: he was the anti-Vitter. I assumed that such a basically decent man would have the same position as former Governor Blanco and other Blue Dogs. I was wrong. These are darker times and the so-called pro-life right believes they can realize their dream of reversing Roe in one fell swoop. Their dream is my nightmare.

In 2019, I am strictly a clothespin voter in the Governor’s race. Team Edwards is so terrified of Louisiana Trumpers that they’ve taken the Democratic base for granted.  That hurt them in the primary: African American voter turnout was low. If they can’t fix that, Louisiana is in a fix.

The fix is Republican candidate Eddie Rispone. His platform consists of three words: Trump, Trump, Trump. He’s an ignorant rich dude who recites the same buzz words repeatedly: conservative, businessman, outsider, and his greatest hit, Trump, Trumpity, Trump.

Rispone is an insider posing as an outsider and a know-nothing posing as a know-it-all. In last night’s debate, he could not explain WHY he wants a constitutional convention. If elected, he will be the most ignorant Governor since singer-actor Jimmie Davis who is best known for buying and slapping his name on the song You Are My Sunshine as well as his staunch defense of segregation in the early Sixties.

The power behind Rispone is contractor Lane Grigsby who my Bayou Brief colleague Sue Lincoln dubbed The Great Grigsby. His goal seems to be to Trumpify, Kochify, and re-Jindalize state government. Rispone is his dim and sporadically genial front man.

Dr. A declined to watch last night’s Edwards-Rispone debate live and, as usual, she was right. I watched it later and found it depressing. The moderators sucked as did the candidates. It was Rispone’s only run-off debate and his performance was dismal. It was the battle of the unprepared vs. the overprepared, Governor Edwards who came off as a smug dick. It scares me that I like former Governor Mike Foster more than either of these bozos. And I never voted for the man that Clancy DuBos dubbed Governor Warbucks.

Eddie Rispone was so bad in the debate that he reminded me why I’m voting for Edwards. Both candidates suck but Rispone sucks harder. His best bet is to nationalize the race by making it about the Insult Comedian. The Governor’s best bet is to keep it local by making it about PBJ. It boils down to Trump vs. Jindal. Is it any wonder that I’m bummed out about this race?

Voting for the lesser of two evils is the adult thing to do but it’s not a helluva lot of fun. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

The last word goes to Wilco with a song that I’ll be singing on November 16th:

 

Why I Didn’t Watch The CNN Debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything is Racism & Sexism and Nobody Will Say It

Look at these fucking contortions: 

Boston’s North Shore seems as if it should be prime Elizabeth Warren territory. It is home to working-class towns, and it’s a short drive from Warren’s own house.

But ever since she entered electoral politics in 2012, she has struggled on the North Shore. When she defeated Scott Brown, the Republican incumbent senator, that year, she lost in places like Haverhill, Peabody, Saugus and Methuen. Last year, when Warren won re-election easily, she performed worse in those towns than Maura Healey, the Democratic attorney general, who was also on the ballot.

As Warren has risen to the top of the presidential primary field, her North Shore struggles underscore the biggest question about her campaign: If she were the nominee, could she win back working-class voters who swung to Donald Trump in 2016?

I can’t imagine why. Maybe it’s because white people have been mainlining Fox News/Sensible Centrist heroin for two decades now and all they’ve learned is that Democrats want to raise Your Taxes so they can give Secret Great Welfare to undeserving minorities while poor white people get Bad Welfare which is No Help At All.

Let’s go to that notorious whisperer of the Average American Voter, fucking CHAIT:

I’ve argued before that Warren has an excellent overall agenda for combating wage stagnation and helping the working class, but that her support for mandatory Medicare and border decriminalization is a politically damaging mistake.

Jonathan Chait of New York magazine says that Warren’s policy positions are hurting her with swing voters. “She is a compelling orator with a sympathetic life story and a gift for explaining complex ideas in simple terms. Yet she has spent most of the last year positioning herself as if the general election will never happen,” Chait writes.

Warren’s policy positions. Are hurting her. With swing voters.

Well goddamn, if only she’d bake them some cookies and tell them a story! About her personal life! Stop saying things like “we should quit locking up children fleeing violence and persecution” and “maybe you shouldn’t go bankrupt if you get brain cancer,” Lizzie!

Mandatory Medicare. You absolute jackass.

Warren’s working-class issues also matter in the primary. The political journalist Ron Brownstein coined the terms “beer track” and “wine track” to describe two different parts of the Democratic electorate, and the beer candidate (Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Walter Mondale) usually beats the wine candidate (Bill Bradley, Paul Tsongas, Gary Hart). Barack Obama was the exception because he added black voters to the wine track.

No one wants to have a beer with some chick!

Obama added black voters to the wine track? It’s 2019 now. Everybody fucking drinks wine. This isn’t the 80s when American wine was garbage; even box wine is good now and this metaphor is goddamn embarrassing. Stop quoting people still masturbating to the catchphrase they invented 20 years ago.

Are we genuinely, in the age of Donald Trump, still doing this? If so, I’d like to trademark the Crackpipe Track, whereby we all vote for the candidate least likely to make us want to freebase until we go blind.

Right now, based solely on this opinion piece, that’s Warren.

“Liberal college whites are growing as a share of the Democratic electorate, and Warren, in particular, has shown the potential to become a very strong candidate among them, as demonstrated by the huge crowds she recently drew in the white-collar enclaves of Minneapolis and Seattle,” Brownstein writes for CNN. “But many party strategists remain dubious that Warren — or anyone else — can win by consolidating those voters alone if Biden maintains an edge with the party’s other two biggest blocks: blacks and blue-collar whites.”

Well, Lord knows the party strategists have NEVER been wrong about who was the most electable candidate, given that they were all in the tank for Hillz and she lost to a sentient bag of dogshit because they all missed the fact that this is a racist-ass country full of angry old people posting Facebook memes about pressing 1 for English.

This isn’t about Warren vs. Biden. I’ve said before and I’ll say until we’re done here that if Joey the Shark is our nominee I will vote for him and campaign for him and post pictures of him and B. Barry Bamz looking sexxxxxy on the trail because that’s kind of our thing and because I’m not a fucking child, I know what’s at stake here.

But this constant regurgitation of the conventional wisdom of the Clinton years and the conflation of “working” with “white” and the elevating of those voters over all other voters and the goddamn arsing chickenfried refusal to acknowledge voter suppression and Republican misinformation in order to make the case that somehow the Democrats just don’t manage to “connect” with Chait’s imaginary whiskey tango proto-voters down the trailer park makes me want to tear off my own head and eat it.

We have serious problems and there are, lest we forget, parts of the country goddamn underwater, and other parts where there are immigrant kids in cages, so you’ll pardon me for skipping the part where we ask all the Democrats what kind of cocktail they are.

A.

Don’t Spike The Ball

The hot takes are flying about the Israeli election. I’m a Bibi-phobe in good standing but here’s a reminder that what we’ve seen thus far is an exit poll showing the opposition with a narrow lead. Israel has proportional representation and a multi-party system, which means a coalition must be built. Netanyahu is down but not out. He trailed Shimon Peres in the 1996 exit polls and won that election.

Josh Marshall knows a helluva lot more about Israeli politics than I do:

But there is an ocean of tears of Bibi-haters who put their faith in Israeli exit polls. We have seen repeated examples of narrow Likud defeats which overnight turned into narrow victories. This is definitely looking like a tough situation for Netanyahu. But I’ve been Charlie Brown and seen this football teed up far too many times to put much stock in these numbers…

Ever since exit polls showed John Kerry winning the 2004 presidential election, I haven’t put much stock in them. Hopefully, this one is right, but now is not the time to spike the ball. Just ask Charlie Brown:

INSTANT UPDATE: The votes are in and the opposition Blue and White has 32 seats and Bibi’s Likud 31. That will give Benny Gantz the first crack at forming a government BUT bad shit could still happen. What I said about spiking the ball still applies.

Mark Sanford Hikes The Appalachian Comeback Trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all, folks.

Jay Inslee Is Out, The Other Joe Walsh Is In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford, Jeff Flake, John Kasich

Let’s get slaughtered and be legends.

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

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

The last word goes to the Real Joe Walsh: