South Carolina — Still “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum”

A South Carolina Republican congressman is not backing down from critics after he pulled out his own personal — and loaded — .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun during a meeting with constituents Friday.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, told The Post and Courier he pulled out the weapon and placed it on a table for several minutes in attempt to make a point that guns are only dangerous in the hands of criminals…

The incident happened at one of the many “coffee with constituents” meetings the freshman lawmaker hosts around South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District.

Norman said he pulled out the gun, pointed it away from the meeting attendees and put it on a table for about five minutes while they continued their conversation over breakfast.

The move, Norman said, was intended to prove “guns don’t shoot people; people shoot guns.”

Norman is a state concealed carry permit holder and said he regularly brings his gun with him when out in public.

If anyone walked into the diner and started shooting, Norman told the attendees, he would be able to protect them because of his gun…

Norman’s actions also drew the ire of Giffords’ husband, retired Navy veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, who helped Giffords start a gun control group after she was shot.

“Congressman Norman is right – he’s no Gabby Giffords,” Kelly said in a statement.

“Americans are increasingly faced with a stark choice: leaders like Gabby, who work hard together to find solutions to problems, or extremists like the NRA and Congressman Norman, who rely on intimidation tactics and perpetuating fear,” Kelly added…

Democrats pounced on Norman’s actions, suggesting it was a potentially illegal political stunt.

“Ralph is only pulling his gun out of his pants like a prop, which no responsible gun owner would do, because he barely got elected the first time,” Robertson said. “This isn’t about gun ownership, it’s about his inadequate campaign.”

Four Democrats have filed to run against Norman in the 2018 race, including his opponent from last year’s special election, Archie Parnell….

I am no expert on concealed carry etiquette, but I would think that once a holder starts pulling out his weapon as a (literal) party prop, he’s pretty well negated the “concealed” part of the equation.

But at least Rep. Norman can count on the support of his peers…

… because that worked out so very well for the state, the first time it was tried.

MAGAts Open Thread: Conor Lamb for Pittsburgh!

Trump isn’t the only top Republican who’s found Saccone underwhelming. The widely-held view from Republican officials: Democrat Conor Lamb is a far superior candidate to Saccone and running a far better campaign. Lamb is running effectively as Republican Lite. He’s pro-gun and says he personally opposes to abortion (though he supports abortion rights).

The thing that most irks senior Republicans involved in the race: Saccone has been a lousy fundraiser. Lamb has outraised Saccone by a staggering margin — nearly 500 percent…

I spoke on Saturday to Corry Bliss, who runs the outside groups linked to Paul Ryan and may have as much as $140 million to spend on the midterm elections.

“The lesson of this race is that campaigns and candidates matter,” Bliss told me. “In this environment, when one campaign out-raises and runs circles around the other, that creates a number of challenges that are tough to overcome.”…

Why this matters: Forecaster Nate Silver tweeted today: “Stating the hopefully-obvious, but the fact that PA-18 is competitive is a really bad sign for Republicans. It voted for Trump by 20 points and Romney by 17. The previous Republican incumbent there (Tim Murphy) didn’t even have a Democratic challenger in 2014 or 2016 & won by 28 points the last time he did, in 2012.”…

Bottom line: Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter emailed me this quick analysis: “My short answer is that one should never read too much into any one race but this is more than Saccone. This is a red congressional district that should go for the generic Republican. But the environment today is much worse than ‘normal’ for Republicans. That’s not because of Saccone or Lamb, but because of Trump.”

Goal Thermometer

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: WINNING!


Other Democrats are getting ambitious — more power to us!

Late-Night Straws-in-the-Wind Open Thread: They Grow Up So Fast!

Never say never in a world where Donald Trump squats in the Oval Office, but I lean towards thinking that neither Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Jerry Brown, Hillary “As IF” Clinton, or any other individual old enough to qualify for Social Security will be running for President on the Democratic ticket in 2020. At least not with the goal of winning, although there’s always the Gingrich-esque performance intended to boost a political grifter’s “brand awareness” value on the media market…

Thirty-seven-year-old Brad Peacock, an organic vegetable farmer in Shaftsbury, is an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate.

He strongly believes that health care is a right and not a privilege. He’s worried that important domestic social programs are being threatened by Republican leaders in Congress, and he’s very concerned about the global impact of climate change.

Those positions sound like Sanders’, so why is Peacock running for the U.S. Senate? Because Sanders is telling young people that the time has come for them to get directly involved in the political process if they want to help move this country in a progressive direction.

“I have listened to him closely, and it really resonated with me when he says we need more young people in politics. And, you know, I said ‘OK,'” said Peacock. “Well I think now is the time.”…

Peacock says he hopes Sanders makes another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. That’s another reason why Peacock is running this year, because he says Vermont should have a full-time senator representing the state in Congress.

“I hope that he may [run for president] and therefore, you know, I think the people of Vermont deserve a senator for six years,” said Peacock…

Peacock actually announced his candidacy back in January, and he sounds like a very worthy candidate, even if he probably won’t be Vermont’s senator next year. Per the Bennington Banner:

In the hour-long speech outlining his platform, Peacock, who is seeking political office for the first time, used personal experience to illustrate his positions on poverty, health care, climate change, and civil rights. Throughout his address, the candidate emphasized community reliance and connection in the face of adversity…

Peacock also spoke out against Republican attempts to upend the Affordable Care Act, and the lack of funding provided for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the tax bill. The candidate also voiced his support for universal health care.

“At 10 years old I was keenly aware that any extra cost to our household would mean added stress and hardship,” Peacock said. “When I started to have a sore throat I remained silent, hoping it would go away. After a week or two it eventually did, but what I didn’t realize is strep throat, left untreated, can attack other organs.”

After continually growing weaker, Peacock was in dire straits by the time he was brought to the emergency room. The virus had attacked his kidneys, he said, causing lasting damage.

“Through all this, I worried I had done something wrong; I worried I had brought hardship on my family,” he said. “I am standing here today to say: no child in America should ever have to bear the worry of healthcare costs, and no parent should have to watch their child suffer in sickness with the added stress of how they will pay for treatment.”…

Last Week to the Alabama Vote…

Goal Thermometer

GOTV for Health this weekend

Maine is trying to expand Medicaid. There have been bi-partisan bills that have routinely passed both chambers of the Maine Legislature. Governor LePage (R-ME) has routinely vetoed these bills. That cycle may be broken next week as Maine has a ballot question on whether or not the state will accept Medicaid expansion.

So if you are in Maine or New Hampshire and have some time this weekend, help with the GOTV and help your fellow Mainiacs.

Late Night Open Thread: “Conservative” GOP “Men of Principle”


One principle, to be exact: “How can I best conserve my cushy job?”

Moore, who was twice ousted as chief justice of the Alabama state Supreme Court, has largely based his Senate run around his promise to make life difficult for Washington’s entrenched class, including his own party’s leadership. Moore has pledged to oppose Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, among other things. But the fundraising pact is a formal behind-the-scenes step by the establishment to support Moore, after unsuccessfully spending millions to defeat him in Alabama’s primary.

The new fund, Alabama 2017 Senate Victory Committee, will allow Moore to raise $80,500 at a time from individual contributors…

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