Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Things Get Better, Eventually


What’s on the agenda, as we start an unexpectedly bright day?

From the Washington Post:

Doug Jones’s odds-defying victory in Alabama — handing Democrats a vanishingly rare Senate win in the Deep South — scrambles President Trump’s legislative agenda for the coming year, threatens to heighten Republican infighting and sounds an alarm for the GOP’s prospects in November’s midterm elections.

Any dent in the two-seat advantage Republicans hold in the Senate would carry major governing consequences, but the loss of what had been considered one of the party’s safest seats carries a special sting for the GOP.

One consequence is Democrats’ much more plausible path to the Senate majority next year. The 2018 map was widely seen to favor Republicans, with 10 Democrats seeking reelection in states President Trump won last year and only two Republican seats clearly at risk…

Some Republicans view the Alabama seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions as the first casualty in an internecine GOP battle that has pitted establishment Republicans personified by McConnell against populist insurgents led by former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

“It should be a hurricane siren for every Republican,” said Josh Holmes, a former top aide to McConnell. “This is what the death of a party looks like, and without an immediate course correction and rejection of the Steve Bannon view of the world, you can lose races in states like Alabama.”…

Barring a new effort at bipartisan dealmaking that has been largely absent so far under the Trump administration, the GOP appears on track to head into the November midterms with only one major accomplishment to tout: a tax-cut bill that has polled poorly and delivers most of its direct benefit to corporations and the wealthy…

Late Night Gloating Open Thread: Moore Is A Losing Luzer Who Loses

To be honest, I’m actually curious how many votes were tipped — or just not cast — after Moore’s Big Barn Burning Hate Fest last night. Sure, it pleased Moore’s base, and no doubt the small-dollar donors who provide his steady income, so he’s got no reason to regret the show. But it’s gotta sting that so many out-of-state Repubs are suddenly seized with the urge to “refudiate” Judge Roy, like he was some shoeless drifter snuck under their big tent and stank up the joint…

Read more

Open Thread: And There Will Be Much Rejoicing!



The upset delivered an unimagined victory for Democrats and shaved Republicans’ unstable Senate majority to a single seat.

Mr. Jones’s victory could have drastic consequences on the national level, snarling Republicans’ legislative agenda in Washington and opening, for the first time, a realistic but still difficult path for Democrats to capture the Senate next year. It amounted to a stinging snub of President Trump, who broke with much of his party and fully embraced Mr. Moore’s candidacy, seeking to rally support for him in the closing days of the campaign.

Sue Bell Cobb, a former chief judge of the Alabama Supreme Court, said Mr. Jones had overcome a culture of “toxic partisanship,” reaching out to Republicans and electrifying restive Democrats.

“Never has there been this level of civic engagement,” said Ms. Cobb, who is planning to run for governor next year. “Never has it happened.”

She was drowned out by a raucous cry from her fellow Democrats, and clasped her hands to her face as she saw on a massive projection screen that Mr. Jones had pulled ahead. Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, a newly inaugurated Democrat standing just feet away, beamed as returns from his city helped put Mr. Jones over the top….

The election is a painful setback for Republicans in Washington, who have already struggled to enact policies of any scale and now face even tougher legislative math. Mr. Moore’s success in the Republican primary here, and the subsequent general-election fiasco, may deter mainstream Republicans from seeking office in 2018 and could prompt entrenched incumbents to consider retirement.

But there is also a measure of relief for some party leaders that Mr. Moore will not join the chamber, carrying with him a radioactive cloud of scandal. A number of Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, had indicated that Mr. Moore would face an ethics investigation if he were elected, and possibly expulsion from the Senate….

Yeah, I’m not buying that line, either. If you read the whole article, there’s an obvious tension between the genuine reporters and the NYT head office’s determination to stenograph the new GOP talking points — that they had Moore forced upon them by that parvenu Trump, who isn’t even really a Republican, after all. It’s not gonna convince many Democrats, and somehow I suspect Republican voters aren’t liable to be persuaded, either.

But tonight is OURS!

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Happy Hannukah!


Apart from the immediate topic(s), what’s on the agenda for the day?


Read more

Monday Morning Open Thread: Find Joy Where You Can


What’s on the agenda, as we start the new week?


Meanwhile, in Alabama…

Last-Minute PSA: If You Know Any Dem Voters in Huntsville…


Give Doug Jones full credit, he’s gonna fight for every vote.

Al Franken’s Resignation Speech

My first thought was “After the holidays, which will make it easier for his staffers to restructure their paperwork, update their resumes, and keep unpleasant at family gatherings to a minimum.” (Yeah, I’ve always been in the lower levels of the employment pyramid.)

The Washington Post has a transcript:

A couple of months ago I felt that we had entered an important moment in the history of this country. We were finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men’s actions affect them. The moment was long overdue. I was excited for that conversation and hopeful that it would result in real change that made life better for women all across the country and in every part of our society.

Then the conversation turned to me.

Over the last few weeks a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them.

I was shocked. I was upset. But in responding to their claims I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation, because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously. I think that was the right thing to do. I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven’t done.

Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, I remember very differently. I said at the outset that the ethics committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits, that I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome…

Serving in the United States Senate has been the great honor of my life. I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the ethics committee would agree. Nevertheless today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.

I of all people am aware there is some irony in the fact I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party. But this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota. It has become clear that I can’t both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them.

Let me be clear. I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen and as an activist. The Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day…

For the record, everything I’ve seen so far suggests that Franken has behaved ineptly, sometimes stupidly, but not criminally. If the accusations are true, he deserved punishment, although not IMO to this degree. But given current circumstances, I also think he’s making the best possible choices for himself, his staffers, his party, and his country… and I look forward to his next steps!

Read more