Open Thread: Warren / Buttigieg 2020!


(I read this anecdote to my Norwegian-American Spousal Unit, linguistics major, who replied, “And nobody ever bothers to learn Maltese… “)

Seriously, though… I was kinda meh about ‘Mayor Pete’ at first, but his campaign is growing on me. Presumably Buttigeig (mayor, Navy vet, served in Afghanistan) and Warren would complement each other’s skill sets. And as much as we all despise the electability argument, there’s something to be said for the every-four-years voter appeal of “Your Favorite Teacher + That Nice Neighborhood Eagle Scout” as a ticket, yes?

The Navy veteran with a hard-to-pronounce name, from a city small enough to fit every resident in a college football stadium, seems to be winning the argument at the moment. Weeks after declaring his interest in challenging President Trump, he has become, if not exactly well-known, a subject of interest for many Democratic voters, buoyed by a breakout performance at a CNN town hall on March 10…

Even in a Democratic field full of nontraditional candidates, Buttigieg stands out in many ways. A military veteran who deployed to Afghanistan, he is openly gay, and his husband, Chasten, maintains a lively Twitter presence. He would be the youngest president in history. No mayor has ever ascended directly to the presidency, let alone from a city of about 102,000…

Some Democrats say privately Buttigieg may not be prepared to be president, given his youth and that he’s never served in national or even statewide office. (Buttigieg is a decade younger than O’Rourke and was not born when former vice president Joe Biden was first elected to the Senate.) Trump’s tenure, they say, has soured Democrats on the notion of inexperienced candidates jumping into the presidency.

Buttigieg responds that, having been South Bend mayor since 2012, he has longer government experience than Trump and more executive credentials than Pence, who was Indiana’s governor for four years…


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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Welcome the Worm Super Moon

Seriously. According to lore, it’s when the frozen ground softens enough for earthworms to emerge, thereby encouraging the return of the robins. Perhaps more importantly, the Spring Equinox arrives just before 6pm EDT… and I, for one, am ready for this winter to be over.

And speaking of spring, with the impulse for housecleaning it inspires, this is very sweet and also embarrassingly reminiscent of our whole house…

When I was a child, the grownup books in my house were arranged according to two principles. One of these, which governed the downstairs books, was instituted by my mother, and involved achieving a remarkable harmony—one that anyone who has ever tried to organize a home library would envy—among thematic, alphabetic, and aesthetic demands. The other, which governed the upstairs books, was instituted by my father, and was based on the conviction that it is very nice to have everything you’ve recently read near at hand, in case you get the urge to consult any of it again; and also that it is a pain in the neck to put those books away, especially when the shelves on which they belong are so exquisitely organized that returning one to its appropriate slot requires not only a card catalogue but a crowbar.

It was this pair of convictions that led to the development of the Stack. I can’t remember it in its early days, because in its early days it wasn’t memorable. I suppose back then it was just a modest little pile of stray books, the kind that many readers have lying around in the living room or next to the bed. But by the time I was in my early teens it was the case—and seemed by then to have always been the case—that my parents’ bedroom was home to the Mt. Kilimanjaro of books. Or perhaps more aptly the Mt. St. Helens of books, since it seemed possible that at any moment some subterranean shift in it might cause a cataclysm.

The Stack had started in a recessed space near my father’s half of the bed, bounded on one side by a wall and on the other by my parents’ dresser, a vertical behemoth taller than I would ever be. At some point in the Stack’s development, it had overtopped that piece of furniture, whereupon it met a second tower of books, which, at some slightly later point, had begun growing up along the dresser’s other side. For some reason, though, the Stack always looked to me as if it had defied gravity (or perhaps obeyed some other, more mysterious force) and grown down the far side of the dresser instead. At all events, the result was a kind of homemade Arc de Triomphe, extremely haphazard-looking but basically stable, made of some three or four hundred books…



Open Thread: Say It Ain’t So, Joe

I like Joe Biden — it’s hard not to — but this, if true, is just terrible. (I refuse to buy a sub to the WSJ, so I can’t read the whole article, and am open to the idea that they’re trying to shiv Biden as the ‘most electable Dem’ to their readership.) Very few actions are less likely to attract Democratic voters in 2020 than being suspected of ‘talking to big donors’ in order to ensure ‘good finance optics’ in advance. Even for someone who isn’t already widely caricatured as ‘(D-MBNA)’.

It does reinforce my suspicion that Biden is less interested in actually running than he is in… doing what’s required / unable to give up going through the motions / out of touch with what 2020 Democratic voters, specifically women and people of color, want from a President. Better to rest on your laurels, Uncle Joe — don’t break your spirit and our hearts relitigating the Reagan era!

An almost equally tragic trial balloon:

There’s been a great many reports about Biden and Stacey Abrams meeting privately last week. Although doing so would certainly attract a lot of ‘earned media’ (as the Village Idiot pundits prefer to refer to free media, since they are in every sense professionals), at least 75% of it would be derisory — and that’s not even counting Twitter snark. Frankly, I respect Abrams too much to think she’d fall for so cheap an attention grab.

Now, Beto O’Rourke, on the other hand — I think he’s the guy Biden’s backers had in mind in the first place. And I think he’s perfectly capable of saying, off the cuff at some coffeehouse rally, that he’d gladly accept Biden’s offer to serve in a Beto administration just as he did for President Obama. And wouldn’t *that* just set the horserace-tout media to squawking about Dems in disarray



Elizabeth Warren’s CNN Town Hall


Thanks to commentor ‘David Koch’. Since at least one commentor asked about embedding a link, during last night’s not-livestreamed thread…
 
And this probably deserves its own post, except news moves too fast these days (& I read too slow.) Looks like Sen. Warren’s take on reparations is aligned with at least one Balloon Juice favorite:

NYMag, “Ta-Nehisi Coates Is an Optimist Now”:

When I say I am for reparations, I’m saying that I am for the idea that this country and its major institutions has had an extractive relationship with black people for much of our history; that this fact explains basically all of the socioeconomic gap between black and white America, and thus, the way to close that gap is to pay it back. In terms of political candidates, and how this should be talked about, and how this should be dealt with, it seems like it would be a very easy solution. It’s actually the policy recommendation that I gave in the piece, and that is to support HR 40. That’s the bill that says you form a commission. You study what damage was done from slavery, and the legacy of slavery, and then you try to figure out the best ways to remedy it. It’s pretty simple. I think that’s Nancy Pelosi’s position at this point.

… When I wrote “The Case for Reparations,” my notion wasn’t that you could actually get reparations passed, even in my lifetime. My notion was that you could get people to stop laughing. My notion was you could actually have people say, “Oh, shit. This actually isn’t a crazy idea. This actually isn’t insane.” And then, once you got them to stop laughing, you could get them to start fighting…



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: All the Way to the Finish Line


Proud to be a Democrat:

As the primary process kicks into full swing, some Democrats are bypassing the kind of experienced Washington “wiseguys” who operated in the caldron of beltway politics — famous strategists like David Axelrod, James Carville and, more recently, Robby Mook. Instead, campaigns are increasingly filling senior positions with a new generation of activist-driven operatives, whose political formation took place in grass-roots movements.

The shift has resulted in greater staff diversity than in previous cycles, but it has also influenced strategy, according to campaign officials. New voices are joining with election-cycle veterans to bring fresh ideas and political approaches to the presidential stage…

Kelly Dietrich, the longtime Democratic consultant, said the surge in Democratic voter enthusiasm since President Trump’s election has helped issue-driven activists become more interested in traditional electoral politics. It has also forced campaigns to take new ideas more seriously, he said.

“We’re seeing a lot more people across the spectrum, both in terms of diversity and political agenda, step forward and want to make change,” said Mr. Dietrich, who founded a campaign training organization called the National Democratic Training Committee. They are “fed up or scared; they are frustrated and are ready to fight back.”

The Democratic Party needs to bring in these activists, Mr. Dietrich said, “so that five years, 10 years, 15 years down the road, this is the norm.”…