Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Follow the Money

(Jeff Danziger via


Open Thread: Beware of GOP Lame Ducks

A reminder from historian Eric Rauchway, in Time, that the GOP has been untrustworthy about its deepest alliance (to money, not voters) since at least the First Great Depression:

After this November’s blue wave crashed on the electoral shore, Congress returned to Washington in the all-American oddity of the lame-duck session, when lawmakers who have lost their posts but retain office go to work on Capitol Hill. But the lame-duck session is more than just strange: it’s dangerous for incoming majorities hoping to keep their campaign promises.

As one political scientist observed in 1933, “defeated Congressmen have frequently been found trouble-makers and mischief-mongers” while they remain in Washington. He had reason to know, having just watched president Herbert Hoover and other defeated Republicans spend their last weeks in office trying to deny Franklin Roosevelt and the new Democratic majority the ability to enact their promised New Deal — and nearly succeeding.

Hoover understood quite well what the New Deal would mean because, as he grumbled, “there is constant promise” from the Democrats of their new policies. Once in office they would borrow money to build dams, roads, bridges and whatever else they could to put Americans to work. They would increase the debt and cause inflation. (Although Roosevelt had declared himself in favor of a balanced budget, he admitted he would do nothing in that direction that would inhibit Depression relief.) During the campaign Hoover warned these policies would “destroy the very foundations of the American system of life,” and said they smelled of the same “fumes of the witch’s caldron which boiled over in Russia.”…

Hoover tried several strategies. First, he worked hard if quietly with his Congressional allies to stop any substantial lawmaking. Democrats drafted a farm relief bill to ease the Depression’s effects on agriculture, and also a bill to permit the sale of beer (which would have been a first step in ending Prohibition). If they passed, it would prove Hoover could have acted sooner on both counts. He opposed them, telling an aide their passage would “mean the destruction of the Republican Party.… Our game is to prevent the cloture … and encourage all filibustering.” He succeeded. Observers credited his actions with stopping both bills.

The repudiated president also launched a project to protect his legacy, commissioning aides to write favorable assessments of his presidency and seeking a satisfactorily conservative buyer for the financially troubled Washington Post. (Ultimately, Hoover’s Federal Reserve chief, Eugene Meyer, would purchase the paper.) One of Hoover’s aides wrote a pseudonymous article declaring that “younger Republicans” recognized Hoover as the party’s future. (The aide was almost 50 years old at the time.)

Most importantly, in his last weeks in office Hoover refused to do anything to address the worsening banking crisis. Waves of bank failures had occurred throughout his presidency. This last one began just before the election. Federal Reserve officials and lawyers advised the president that he had the power to close the banks temporarily, providing time for officials to inspect their books and guarantee their safety, thus restoring financial confidence. They pleaded with him to do it. He would not. “I certainly hope the crash won’t come until we go out,” he told an aide. But he had no intention of stopping it for an ungrateful citizenry. “They are dissatisfied with what has been done and turn to other leaders,” he said…

At least we don’t have to worry about the current Oval Office Squatter badmouthing the Russians, for what that’s worth.

Monday Evening Open Thread: Ohio Trump Voters Rewarded

Just in time for the holidays CHRISTMAS!

And you know there will be a tweet from the Oval Office Occupant, blaming this on Sherrod Brown’s ‘lack of respect’…

Tim Ryan’s district. Maybe he should’ve paid more attention to his job, and less time trying to kneecap Nancy Pelosi?

Good news for the Thief-in-Chief’s actual base, though…

You knew he was a snake when you took him to your bosom…

It’s apt to confuse me because it’s such an unusual sight

It’s hard for a guy like me to say this, but…small donor fundraising for Democrats was a smashing success in this year’s elections, and the way we (and others) spent their money was pretty damned smart overall. We gave lots to Conor Lamb and even more to Doug Jones, and raised money for nearly every Democratic candidate who flipped a seat.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to keep this going. I think I finally have a plan. First off, early fundraising is important because it signals to good candidates that they can get in and count on having enough money to run a serious race. That’s why I think nominee funds are so great. I’d like to nominee funds for the, say, 20 Republican districts that are the best Cook PVIs for Democrats. Those are targets for 2020 and by raising money for nominee funds, we can help encourage good candidates to get in. A Republican-held district right near me, NY-24, has a Cook PVI of +3 D but no marquee candidate emerged on the Democratic side. In particular, former Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner elected not to run. What I heard was that she didn’t want to spend hours a day fundraising. What if she or other similar candidates knew they could count on a couple million from ActBlue? It might change things a lot.

I’d also like to raise money for the 30 or so new Democratic members of Congress who are in the districts with the worst Cook PVIs for Democrats. Members of Congress are most vulnerable, they say, they first time they come up for re-election.

So what do people think of doing something like 40-50 House races in 2019 (meaning we raise the money in 2019)? We can also do nominee funds for the Senate races in Maine and Colorado.

I don’t know how possible it is to do anything local on ActBlue. But do remember: local elections are super-important and have very low turn-out. I may try to work with Maze Dancer on some postcards for local elections.

Sunday Night Open Thread: Reason to Go On

End of a long, and for some people stressful, weekend.

Lawyers in the case… asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington for an extension until Nov. 26. They didn’t explain why, saying in a brief filing on Thursday [11/15] that they will then submit “a report that will be of greater assistance in the court’s management of this matter.”

Nothing else in the two-paragraph document indicates what, if anything, may be happening in the next 10 days. But the filing could suggest that Manafort’s cooperation with Mueller may be nearing a critical point…

“If Manafort is a key figure in a soon-to-be-made public indictment, such that he’s a major witness or co-conspirator, that would be a pretty big event,” [former federal prosecutor Patrick] Cotter said. “They may want to say to the judge, ‘You’re going to have his sentencing way back because Manafort is going to be a key witness in a brand new case.’”

Prosecutors may also still be debriefing Manafort and need more time, Cotter said.

Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig said the filing “tells us that something significant and public will be happening within the next 10 days. That will enable the prosecutors to give them a better sense of where Manafort is in terms of the overall process.”…

And George ‘Coffee Boy’ Papadopoulus isn’t looking forward to tomorrow, either…

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that George Papadopoulos must report to prison as scheduled on Monday, rejecting a bid by the former Trump campaign adviser to delay the start of his sentence while a constitutional challenge to the special counsel’s investigation of Russian election interference remains unresolved.
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Saturday Morning Open Thread — Pelosi: Watch and Learn, Younglings!

… And by gosh, the kids *are* learning…

She keeps taking notes like this, and she’ll do just fine, that Ocasio-Cortez person.

Friday Morning Open Thread: Value for Money

I know, I’m stepping on Dave’s turf, but I enjoyed the seasonal concept!

Speaking of seasonal themes, maybe we call this one “Mr. Potter bolts awake, screaming”:

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters is proposing a new direction for the House Financial Services Committee, which she will almost certainly lead in the next Congress, Axios has learned.

Between the lines: The most notable proposed change: is lumping oversight of “International Financial Institutions” — which could mean anything from the World Bank to foreign banks — with the existing Terrorism and Illicit Finance subcommittee, while scrapping the Monetary Policy and Trade subcommittee.

As word leaks out about the proposal, it’s catching the attention of foreign banks. It’s a strong signal that Waters is not just talking about going after the likes of Deutsche Bank, sources familiar with the proposal tell Axios.

“[Waters has] not been shy about the direction and focus she would take if she got the gavel; she’s just now literally putting it in writing which got folks’ attention. Sort of like, “oh…she wasn’t kidding!”, the source who shared the proposal with Axios told us via text…

Other proposed changes to the House Financial Services Committee include dropping insurance from the “Housing and Insurance” subcommittee, and renaming it “Housing and Community Development.”

Waters also proposed to swap “Consumer Credit” with “Consumer Protection” for the current Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee.

There’s also a new proposed subcommittee, solely focused on diversity and inclusion within the financial sector, as first reported by Politico Pro and Reuters

Politico reports that some of Waters’ fellow Democrats (wittingly or not) are doing their job to terrify the banking miscreants by telling them that the Scary Black Lady is not only capable of, but eager to, perform a financial colonoscopy upon those who’ve grown fat and lazy under the ‘rule’ of the current Thief-in-Chief. And the mere touch of Rep. Waters’ hand can shatter a healthy young man’s public esteem — just ask Michael Tracey!