Floriduh Man to Ohio Man: Hold My Beer!

In a clear attempt to maintain Florida’s well earned status as the home of turning the crazy up to 11, a Florida Democratic Party Official has turned to his Ohio Man counterpart and said hold me beer!

From The Tampa Bay Times:

Stephen Bittel’s rocky tenure as Florida Democratic Party chairman ended in disgrace Friday after he resigned following accusations from women that he leered at them, made suggestive comments and created an unprofessional work environment.

Bittel said he is working with party leaders to set a date to elect his successor.
Elected in January after a contentious internal campaign, Bittel lasted less than a year on the job.  His departure marks the latest case of sexual impropriety shaking the state Capitol.

Bittel’s position became untenable after all four major Democratic candidates for Florida governor urged his ouster following a Politico Florida report late Thursday in which six women anonymously complained about Bittel’s behavior. They said he was “creepy” and “demeaning.” Bittel apologized, but it was not enough.

Bittel appears to have gone all out in his attempt to earn his Floriduh Man! card and keep Florida much, much stranger than Ohio.

Floriduh Man: offensive and educational!

Open thread!

Shep Smith Explains Uranium One

And he does a good job of it. For your rightwing relatives who want to “Lock Her Up.”

And the New York Times.

The Follow on Effects of the Weinstein Sexual Assault Allegations

As I’ve written in comments a couple of times over the last few days, I think from early indications from reporting coming out of some state capitols, that you’re going to see allegations of sexual improprieties wash through elected and appointed officials in the states and at the Federal level. This is going to get real ugly real fast once momentum picks up. What I think we’re going to see is three different types of allegations. There will be allegations dealing with sexual predation – harassment, assault, rape. There will also be allegations dealing with infidelity leading to calls of hypocrisy, with some of the infidelity involving lobbyists leading to accusations of sex for favors. Finally, there will be allegations of officials, elites, and/or notables who are closeted LGBTQ Americans. Some will be outed for hypocrisy. Some will also be accused of engaging in predation a la Speaker Hastert or Congressman Foley or Kevin Spacey. This last type will also include just plain old infidelities just like their heterosexual colleagues. Their will also, unfortunately, be some who are likely to just get outed as it all finally comes out even though they weren’t ready to come out. Essentially they’ll be collateral damage.

There are also going to be other effects. The first is that as the floodgates get forced open this is going to spread. It won’t be contained to the entertainment industry or to elected and/or appointed officials – it is going to spread from industry to industry and a long overdue reckoning will hopefully take place. Including changes in business practices, as well as new laws, rules, regulations, and eventually prosecutions for crimes where that is still a possibility.

At the same time there will likely be attempts to weaponize allegations against one’s political or business rivals. False allegations will eventually be created to ruin business or political rivals. If this happens, and I think it’s likely, it will also be used to undercut the legitimacy of the real accusers and undermine their allegations. If this does happen it will provide the opening for pushback from the forces of reaction that never want any progress to be made on any important issue because it makes them uncomfortable or challenges their authority or their privilege. And this will likely muddy the waters enough to allow for the beginning of what will be the inevitable push back. There has never been a period of progress, especially fast progress that resulted from long suppressed calls for justice, that wasn’t immediately followed by a fast and concerted push back. Including attempts to roll back all the gains and reestablish some imagined and idealized golden age before all the unfortunate and unnecessary change was pushed through. The forces of reaction are strong and they are always waiting for a chance to try to go back to get to a better future.

One of the things we all have to be prepared to do is to specifically support those we know who decide to come forward as we are generally supportive of those who come forward that we do not know. We have to set the conditions for those women and men, and in some really terrible instances girls and boys, to feel safe and supported enough to make this stand and fight this fight. And we have to be prepared to be supportive of those who wind up as collateral damage – and there will be collateral damage here. Finally, we have to hold the line for them when the inevitable pushback begins.

Dogs That Don’t Bark

Not only have Republicans been silent on any number of Donald Trump’s actions that would have caused them to erupt in impeachment fever had Barack Obama done them, they succeeded in suppressing actions that might have thwarted Russian meddling in last year’s election.

Historically, the Republicans have been the firmly anti-Communist and anti-Soviet party. One still occasionally sees anti-Communist rants from Republican commentators, but the fall of the Soviet Union diluted the value of such things.

It’s been 25 years now. People of electoral age grew up in the post Cold War world and may not realize the antagonism and fear that existed. Paul Ryan is 47, so he was 21 in 1991 and fantasizing about Ayn Rand. Mitch McConnell is 75 and doesn’t have that excuse.

Toward the end of last summer, the intelligence community was convinced that Russia was intervening in the election on the side of Donald Trump. They told President Barack Obama and other members of the administration. As the election approached, the situation became increasingly fraught. The best way to counter Russian meddling would be to expose it. However, if the Democratic President announced such a thing, he could be attacked as trying to influence the election.

The solution to that would be for the patriotic leaders of the opposition to join with the President and the intelligence community to warn the public of the foreign interference. Obama and other Democratic officials suggested that to the Republican leadership. McConnell and the Trump campaign doubted the intelligence. John Brennan, then director of the CIA, assured them that it was not a partisan matter. Read more

What Comes Next?

With Monday’s revelations, we know more about Donald Trump’s Russian connections, but there is obviously more to come. As I urged in August, we need to think about options for the country’s response as this plays out.

David Roberts (@drvox) posted a tweetstream Sunday night on whether the country can come together, given the division sown by the Republicans and their implications of “Second Amendment solutions” and, potentially, civil war. Daniel Nexon (@dhnexon), a professor of political science, posted a similar, but shorter tweetstream. Roberts has now written a post that is still longer and goes in a different direction than I take here. I’ll work from the tweetstreams. Read more

Holding Their Feet To The Fire

We have a dim beginning of Republican Senators who are willing to say words that seem to call out the President. But, as we saw last night, they continue to be willing to vote against the good of the people. We have to keep the heat on them: Nice words are a start toward making up for the mess you’ve created, but what are you going to DO about it?

Greg Sargent has some more specific questions for them. That, too, is a dim beginning of the media beginning to hold these politicians responsible for their words AND actions. Here are the five questions:

Does the GOP’s continuing plutocratic tilt bear some blame for Trumpism? Just after you heroically denounced Trumpism, virtually every Senate Republican — including you both [Flake and Corker] — voted to kill a rule that allowed consumers to bring class-action suits against financial services companies, a massive giveaway to Wall Street.

Shouldn’t the GOP condemn Trump’s dismissal of the Russia probes and nonstop lies about our democracy? It’s good that you both cast Trump as a threat to our civic institutions and to liberal democracy itself. But shouldn’t the party be taking the Russia probes more seriously and prodding Trump to stop dismissing them as a hoax?

Shouldn’t Republicans do more to prod Trump to release his tax returns? Both of you rightly blasted Trump for degrading our democratic norms. But even if you want tax cuts (that will overwhelmingly benefit the rich, including Trump himself in a big way), what is the justification for the GOP failure to even try to shed light for the public on how it will impact Trump’s bottom line?

Should the GOP really make a home for lawless bigot Roy Moore? You both repeatedly condemned Trump’s bigotry and racism. Moore, who will likely be the next GOP senator from Alabama, has been removed from the judicial bench for putting God’s law above U.S. law, is a raging anti-Muslim bigot and birther (just like Trump), and has said homosexuality should be illegal. Shouldn’t more Republicans declare him unfit to serve?

Shouldn’t you say whether you think Trump should be removed? If you believe Trump is profoundly unfit for his office, and poses such immense dangers to the country and the world, doesn’t that mean it’s time to start talking about impeachment or the 25th Amendment?

I’ve truncated the questions from the link. And Open Thread.

Jeff Flake Excoriates His Colleagues

Jeff Flake just announced he will not be running for re-election in a speech condemning the President and his Republican enablers.

I know it’s frustrating to hear this sort of thing from Republicans now, particularly those who are not planning to run for election. But, even if they have been in that pack enabling Trump, it is important for them to speak out now. Bob Corker this morning and now Jeff Flake make it easier for others to come forward and, hopefully, impeach this disaster of a man.

Some excerpts from the speech:

We must never regard as “normal” the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country – the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.
None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.
If I have been critical, it not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe that it is my obligation to do so, as a matter of duty and conscience. The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters – the notion that one should say and do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.
The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics. Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity.
And a few reactions:

Update: Video