Open Thread: “Doing Nothing Is No Longer Acceptable”

Damn fine ad, IMO…

Good for Mr. O’Rourke. He may have decided that going full “gun-grabber” is the best position for him at this time — if it isn’t what the horse-race touts like to call a ‘deal changer’ for his own campaign, at least it keeps the topic front & center in the media.

(Let the frothing proponents of the LAWNORDER!!! party defend ‘… but only if it’s laws I happen to agree with’ in public, during a high-profile election season.)

Election 2020 Open Thread: New Hampshire’s ‘Cattle Call’ Weekend

Or, as I think of it, that proud folkloric tradition, the Running of the Journos…

With 19 presidential candidates speaking during the proceedings — which did not include the usual rule setting by delegates, which was suspended until another quorum — a few contenders’ names came up more frequently than others.

The top three candidates for Keene Democratic organizer JoAnn Fenton, for example, overlapped with the preferences of other local attendees who have yet to endorse: U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

Booker and Warren, in particular, were favorites among the Monadnock Region die-hards in attendance, with organizers like Fenton citing their strong ground game and close attention paid to local Democrats.

Fenton, who said she is not ready to endorse anyone yet, quipped that she faces a new conundrum, given the size of the field.

“I have never had this problem before,” Fenton chuckled. “I have always known who I was voting for, and it’s such a dilemma because they’re all so good.”…

Jennifer Rubin, in the Washington Post: “In New Hampshire, Trump drives turnout — for Democrats”

MANCHESTER, N.H. — If, as billed, New Hampshire’s Democratic state convention had its largest turnout ever this year, then the party surely has President Trump to thank. Kicking off the proceeding on Saturday morning, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez quoted Trump’s galling assertion that “you have no choice but to vote for me.” He brought the crowd to its feet when he retorted, “We’ve got no choice but to get his ass out of the White House!” It was that kind of day.

A close second in the villain department was Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose name evoked boos whenever mentioned, as if he were the crowd’s Haman, the villain who is ritually denounced at Jewish Purim celebrations. “Moscow Mitch” chanting broke out in the midst of Rep. Chris Pappas’s (D-N.H.) speech, to Pappas’s delight. “You know he hates that,” he said with a grin.

Outside, throngs of supporters filled the sidewalk and the plaza in front of the Southern New Hampshire University Arena, waving signs, chanting for their candidate and donning their campaign’s T-shirt. Supporters of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) outnumbered other camps — by a lot.

As enthusiastic as some Democrats are for their particular candidate, the message inside was “unity.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who faces a tough reelection campaign, drew a sustained ovation when she exhorted the crowd to support whoever the nominee might be. That theme was repeated throughout the day. Whether that spirit survives next week’s debate is an open question…

(Worth reading the whole thing; she writes approvingly about Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, and Klobuchar.. )

Read more

Monday Morning Open Thread: Gonna Be Another Long Week

Overlooked (among the chaos) story of the weekend:


(Could be worse, after all — we could be forced, by some unfortunate confluence of malign forces, to be working for the GOP… )

Repubs in Disarray!… Open Thread: Trump vs. Pence (Rooting for Injuries)

Tom LoBianco has a book to sell, but it’s nice to contemplate the rats infighting on the Titanic. Yahoo News:

On the surface, Trump and Pence insist they have a great relationship and are working closer than ever to win reelection in 2020. (They’ve consistently beaten back rumors that former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is in the running to replace Pence on the 2020 ticket.)

But behind the scenes, tensions have been mounting among Trump, Pence and their top advisers ever since the GOP’s resounding losses in the 2018 midterms. In the weeks afterward, Trump asked aides about replacing Pence on the ticket, and he asked again for their thoughts on Pence during his August vacation at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., according to Trump advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about private discussions with the president.

Current and former Trump and Pence advisers interviewed for this story, as well as my forthcoming biography of Pence, “Piety & Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House,” consistently described a personal relationship between Trump and Pence that is warm but somewhat aloof. Pence has a lane that he sticks to in the White House — conservative social policy — but he is not considered to be as influential as people like Jared Kushner or Stephen Miller.

But the relationship between their political teams has soured greatly in the past year, according to a dozen Trump and Pence aides and Republican advisers familiar with the dynamic. In particular, rumors that Kushner and Ivanka Trump wanted to consider replacements for Pence — specifically trying to find a woman running mate to help win back the suburbs in 2020 — have worried the vice president’s camp, according to Trump and Pence campaign advisers who spoke on background for this story…
Read more

Open Thread: “Does Joe Biden Want to Be Doing This?”

You think anyone other than Joe Biden has the power to stop him, right now? Eugene Robinson, at the Washington Post “It’s still Biden’s race to lose”:

The big news in the Democratic presidential race is that not much has changed since Joe Biden jumped in…

For me, the striking thing is how little the race changed over the summer. Since late May, Biden’s support has never gone below 26 percent — his nadir after getting sliced and diced by Harris in the first debate — and no other candidate has climbed as high as 19 percent.

Polls in the key early primary and caucus states tell the same story. The RealClearPolitics average shows Biden with a solid lead in Iowa, a slim lead in New Hampshire, and huge leads in both Nevada and South Carolina. If those numbers hold and he wins all four of those states, it’s pretty much game over…

At 76, Biden has to show that he’s still sharp and vigorous enough to vanquish Trump and then serve four years in the most demanding job in the world. In the first debate, he seemed old, tired, at times befuddled. Since then, in my view, he has been much better, though questions remain.

If Democrats choose Biden, they will have a nominee who can get carried away while telling stories, who can mix up names and dates, who can be a font of malapropisms. His top-tier rivals speak in crisper, more well-formed sentences; heck, Buttigieg speaks in whole polished paragraphs. But as voters decide who’s best to beat Trump and repair the damage he’s done to the nation, I believe they want more than eloquence. I think they’re looking for “electability,” whatever that means; they’re looking for a fighter who won’t back down; and they’re looking for leadership…

The most glowing line on Biden’s political CV is the eight years he spent as Obama’s vice president… And the image of the Obama presidency is being transformed with every second that El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago remains in office. The Obama presidency can now be seen as an oasis of blessed calm between two Category 5 political tempests. Obama came in after the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush and before the catastrophic presidency* that we are now enjoying. The further we get from it, the better this image of the Obama years is going to look, and all the better for Joe Biden as it does.

For all the racetrack touts and analytics, Biden has one very strong political advantage going for him. People just want things to get back to normal again. They want a president who isn’t manifestly unqualified and clearly half-mad. They want their Twitter accounts to go back to featuring dogs and cute pictures of the grandkids. They want a Congress that can work smoothly enough so that they can go back to ignoring it again. In fact, they’d like a government that can work smoothly enough so that they can go back to ignoring it again. I am not one of these people and, very likely, you’re not, either. But there are a helluva lot of them out there, and I suspect Joe Biden appeals to them more than any of his rivals do. He is a president you can forget about, at least for a moment.

But whatever you think of the NYTimes‘ Mark ‘This Town’ Leibovich, he’s got a predator’s eye for a candidate’s weaknesses…

How badly do you want to be president?” Joseph R. Biden Jr. was asked after a recent speech in Prole, Iowa. The answer to such an inquiry would appear self-evident in the case of Mr. Biden, who began his running-for-president routine more than three decades ago; in other words, very badly, one would assume.

But the question, posed by a reporter, seemed to come at Mr. Biden as a bit of a curveball — a variant of the “Why do you want to be president?” riddle that CBS’s Roger Mudd famously stumped Ted Kennedy with 40 years ago. The former vice president paused.

“I think it’s really, really, really important that Donald Trump not be re-elected,” Mr. Biden said, more of a rationale than answer. He then launched into a classic Biden roller derby of verbiage in which he listed all the reasons he found Mr. Trump so distasteful. He landed on a question to himself.

“Could I die happily not having heard ‘Hail to the Chief’ play for me?” the Democratic front-runner asked. “Yeah, I could,” he said. “That’s not why I’m running.”
Read more