Bayh Humbug

This is intriguing especially as it moved a reach race into a toss-up race for Democrats.

I was just looking at the 2018 Senate Map and it is not as fugly as I thought it had been. There are five red state Democratically held seats up (Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, and West Virginia) and a few swing state seats (Florida, Ohio, Virginia) that would be vulnerable in a lean Republican year. An unexpected seat in Indiana from 2016 would be a nice cushion.

Secondly, what do we know about Bayh — he is an opportunist, a weather vane, and conventional wisdom Very Serious Person. And those are his good qualities.

If he is willing to jump into a race that should be an uphill climb in a neutral environment, the opportunist as a concurrent indicator means things are looking good in November.

The Primary, Again

I was rambling on about twitter earlier, developed my thoughts, and thought I would share. I think the major part of why this election is so frustrating for me is that neither of the candidates excite me the way Barack Obama did in 2008. Everything about that election was just magical to me- I still remember sitting in the hotel room at the conference I was attending on election night with my boss, and we were drinking and hooting and hollering every time another state went for him.

There was just something there in the man that just seemed larger than the times, and that exists to this day. I hope I am wrong, but deep down i don’t think I am ever going to feel that way about a candidate again. He was, in full dork speak, my Neo. I would crawl over broken glass for the man, and still would. Mind you, his record is not perfect. From my perspective he’s been pretty bad on a few issues, but when I balance that with how far we have come, and the grace and dignity with which it has been accomplished in the face of a worthless cowed media, backstabbing blue dogs, and a sociopathic opposition party, and I still marvel at what has happened these past eight years.

I love documentaries, and I often sit and play them like one would a podcast or the radio while I am working, and one that I play quite frequently is Ken Burns on the Roosevelts. I was a newly minted Democrat when Obama took the stage, and he made me a Democrat for life. The same can be said of Obama about me as can be said about the people, now dying off, who still have pictures of FDR in their living rooms.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Bernie, and I think I like the Hillary that isn’t media managed and shielded from me with a screen of bullshit from her sycophants, and I love listening to Al Franken and Sherrod Brown and Zephyr Teachout and Elizabeth Warren up there busting the balls of big banks, but they aren’t Obama to me and never will be.

Having said that, I also get that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way about Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton that I felt and feel about President Obama, so I try not to be too much of a dick about the nonsense that gets spewed. You can decide whether or not I have succeeded, but if you decide I haven’t, just think about this- I am actively holding back most of the time when I talk about these campaigns. The Bernie Sanders supporters can be some of the most irritating human beings on the planet, as if they took every annoying fucking trait of the Paulites and said to themselves- “Let’s take this to eleven.” Likewise, the thick slime of the permanent Clinton advisors, who will literally say anything, even if it defies all logic and reason, makes me want to gag at times. I think the utter gibberish her supporters spew is also one of her best attributes- she can command such a loyal following that they will willingly debase themselves publicly in support of her. That’s loyalty. And in politics, that is useful and EXTREMELY valuable.

I think the thing that makes me jaded, though, and again, this is just me blabbing, is that I don’t feel like I had to make things up to be outraged about when defending Obama. People were really doing the things that pissed me off. People who should know better were saying outrageous things. I didn’t need to make things up to appear offended about- there was so much offensive shit being launched at Obama that you couldn’t keep up with it.
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Spare Me, DWS

Hillary’s DNC embed, Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

Do you notice a difference between young women and women our age in their excitement about Hillary Clinton? Is there a generational divide? Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.

You’re one of a dwindling number of progressive politicians who oppose legalization of even the medical use of marijuana. Where does that come from? I don’t oppose the use of medical marijuana. I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs. We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.

I don’t talk about my daughter much, but this is the first Presidential election where she can vote.  She and her politically engaged female friends are supporting Bernie Sanders.  In the words of one of her friends:  “what’s the difference between Hillary and a Republican?” Granted, that’s an overstatement, and it’s also a small sample, but I think it’s possible to imagine that there are a few other young women whose lack of excitement about Hillary could possibly be due to engagement with the political process, not complacency. And, yes, they know what Roe v Wade is, and why it’s important. Could she be any more condescending to the young voters that Democrats need to turn out in big numbers?

Hillary is a wee bit to the left of DWS’ retrograde position on marijuana.  Even so, I can see why Sanders is more appealing to young women (and men) on that issue.  DWS 70’s-era “marijuana is a gateway to heroin” position, coupled with a grudging acceptance of medical marijuana, might play well with her senior citizen constituents, but it’s a sad joke to a generation that recognizes, correctly, that alcohol is a more dangerous drug than pot. 71% of them support legalization.

Another couple of bricks in the wall from the political numbskull responsible for the limited number of Democratic debates, and the positioning of those debates at times where they won’t be watched.

(via Kevin Drum)

Gitmo Closure, Redux

I want Steve M. to be wrong here about Dems chickening out on accepting Syrian refugees, but given the repeated history of Dem cowardice on closing Gitmo, I don’t think he is.

And if this can’t be legally blocked by governors, the courts, or a Republican Congress, I’m predicting raw George Wallace-style resistance by the governments of the Southern states especially — or, perhaps, confrontations involving angry True Patriots with AR-15s. As I’ve said before, I lived through busing in Boston. I know how ugly this sort of thing can get if at least some of the people holding government power reject the rule of law.

We’ve been through this sort of thing before in the Obama years. The president wanted to close Guantanamo, send some of the detainees to stateside penal facilities, and conduct trials in New York City. The backlash was fierce, and no one had his back — and please recall that this was in 2009 and early 2010, when his party had large majorities in Congress. (The mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, who’d endorsed Obama in 2008, ultimately stabbed him in the back on this.)

When Obama’s opponents have an ideal opportunity to prey on voters’ fears, they’ll do it, relentlessly. So this is going to be a losing battle for the White House.

I don’t doubt President Obama will find a way to get something done on this, but it’s not going to be pretty.  Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire didn’t hesitate to crap out, presumably to help her Senate chances next year, even though the State Department has taken in refugees since 9/11 without problems.

So what happens?  Hearings?  Legislation tacked on to must-pass bills?  I’m not sure, but what I’m not seeing is Democrats in Congress backing the President’s position on this.  And that makes me think it’s possible that this turns into trying to close Gitmo all over again.

But betting on Democrats not named Obama to have moral courage in the face of rampant Islamophobia has already been a loser for the last seven years.  You’ll forgive me if I think it’s not a solid bet this time around, either.

[UPDATE] If this poll that Greg Sargent brings up is any indication, it’s that Islamophobic assholery in the US hasn’t changed too much in 14 years.

A major new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests these GOP lawmakers and candidates may be reading the mood of the overall public — and GOP voters in particular — with dispiriting accuracy.

The poll finds that Americans overall agree by 56-41 that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and the American way of life. Meanwhile, Americans are almost perfectly split on the value of immigration: 47 percent say immigrants strengthen the country with hard work and talent, while a depressingly high 46 percent say they are a burden on the U.S. because they take jobs, housing and health care. The CEO of PRRI tells religion writer Sarah Posner that the findings show an “increased xenophobic streak” among the American public overall.

So yeah, this is not going to be a good time for refugees.

Goose Eggs

Yeah, Richard Mayhew is probably right about why Bevin won, because Kynect/Medicaid wasn’t a factor to voters.

You want to know why it wasn’t a factor to voters?

Big ol goddamn goose egg, that’s why.

You can feel all the sympathy you want for people who voted against their self-interest here in the Bluegrass State, but considering Conway was too busy telling people how awful Obama is, he gets a big chunk of the blame too.

Democrats.  Who Run Away.  From Obama.  Lose.

Why is this so goddamn hard for people to understand?

Everything’s Obama’s Fault

Jeff Greenfield over at WIN THE MORNING decides that this whole “President Obama kicking ass for the last year or so” thing is getting boring, and giving a black President a positive can’t possibly be right, so we’re back to everything is Obama’s fault as to how he has destroyed the Democratic party.

Under Obama, the party started strong. “When Obama was elected in 2008, Democrats were at a high water mark,” says David Axelrod, who served as one of Obama’s top strategists. “Driven by antipathy to George W. Bush and then the Obama wave, Democrats had enjoyed two banner elections in ’06 and ’08. We won dozens of improbable congressional elections in states and districts that normally would tack Republican, and that effect trickled down to other offices. You add to that the fact that we would take office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and it was apparent, from Day One, that we had nowhere to go but down.”

The first signs of the slowly unfolding debacle that has meant the decimation of the Democratic Party nationally began early—with the special election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s empty Senate seat in Massachusetts. That early loss, even though the seat was won back eventually by Elizabeth Warren, presaged the 2010 midterms, which saw the loss of 63 House and six Senate seats. It was disaster that came as no surprise to the White House, but also proved a signal of what was to come.

The party’s record over the past six years has made clear that when Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017 the Democratic Party will have ceded vast sections of the country to Republicans, and will be left with a weak bench of high-level elected officials. It is, in fact, so bleak a record that even if the Democrats hold the White House and retake the Senate in 2016, the party’s wounds will remain deep and enduring, threatening the enactment of anything like a “progressive” agenda across much of the nation and eliminating nearly a decade’s worth of rising stars who might help strengthen the party in elections ahead.

The really weird part is that nowhere in the entire piece do I see the words “Debbie Wasserman Schultz” who, as chair of the DNC, would ostensibly be the person in charge of the election strategies and GOTV tactics that Greenfield is complaining about, but I guess Greenfield has never met her or something.

Also, there is the small matter of the impressive number of Democrats who lost by running as far away from Barack Obama as possible in 2010, 2012, and 2014 but no, the problem is of course Obama.

That’s the Beltway wisdom, and it will be for a very, very long time.


Just Chuck Off Already

Lot of hair-on-fire screaming this morning by Dems over Chuck Schumer (D-Tel Aviv) seeing an opportunity to sandbag the Iran deal (which is still going to pass) so he can later shrug and say “You know boys, I tried to stop it…”

Senator Chuck Schumer, the most influential Jewish voice in Congress, said Thursday night that he would oppose President Obama’s deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

“Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed,” Mr. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said in a lengthy statement. “This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.”

Mr. Schumer had spent the last several weeks carrying a dog-eared copy of the agreement in his briefcase and meeting with Mr. Obama and officials like Wendy R. Sherman, the deal’s chief negotiator. With his decision, he paves the way for other Democrats on the fence to join Republicans in showing their disapproval.

There are some who believe that I can force my colleagues to vote my way,” Mr. Schumer said. “While I will certainly share my view and try to persuade them that the vote to disapprove is the right one, in my experience with matters of conscience and great consequence like this, each member ultimately comes to their own conclusion.”

C’mon guys, he’s practically giving the game away here.  He’s going to try really hard to convince Dems to vote against the President, and enough of them won’t bite so that the veto of the disapproval resolution holds.  This is a done deal (as Schumer’s fellow New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand has come out for backing it, she should be the first person Schumer should have been able to convince if he was being serious about wrecking the deal) and Schumer is playing his kabuki well.

This Schumer “defection” convinces me more than ever that the Iran deal will become law. The forms must be observed, and observed they will be. Schumer isn’t even trying to hide the fact he’s covering his ass with the AIPAC crowd at this point, and he knows he can get away with it.

And he will.