Thursday Evening Open Thread: Dems Will Be Ready, When the Time Comes

Greg Sargent, in the Washington Post:

The Post’s Paul Kane reports this morning that despite their rhetoric downplaying this possibility, House Democrats are privately preparing for a possible effort to impeach President Trump, should they regain the majority.

That’s excellent news. This is exactly what Democrats should be doing — right now.

Not just because an impeachment battle might actually happen, but also for another reason: Democrats will need to find a more effective way to talk to the American people about the serial degradation of our democracy we are seeing in the Trump era, for the good of the party, yes, but also for the good of the country…

… To be clear, I’m not necessarily saying impeachment is merited right at this moment. My position aligns with the persuasive argument made by Benjamin Wittes and Jane Chong that there are ample grounds for beginning a formal congressional inquiry into possible impeachment, based on the sum total of Trump’s multiplying fields of misconduct.

Publicly, Democratic leaders are urging the rank and file to play down any talk of impeachment, out of fear that it might be perceived as overreach. But there is no reason for Democrats to be apologetic about preparing for possible impeachment in certain plausible scenarios, or to shy away from treating that as a legitimate topic of public debate…


With that being noted, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

As a further leading indicator, on the other side of the aisle, Sen. Chelonian hastily pulls extremities into shell…

Monday Evening Open Thread: Comic Interlude

I suspect Dr. Stein has always fantasized being Lillian Hellman (as played by Jane Fonda) in front of an unsympathetic HUAC committee, and now she’s got her big chance.

The top congressional committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has set its sights on the Green Party and its nominee, Jill Stein, according to a former campaign employee.

Dennis Trainor Jr., who worked for the Stein campaign from January to August of 2015, says Stein contacted him on Friday saying the Senate Intelligence Committee had requested that the campaign comply with a document search.

Trainor, who served as the campaign’s communications director and acting manager during that time, told BuzzFeed News that he was informed of the committee’s request because during his time on the campaign, his personal cell phone was “a primary point of contact” for those looking to reach Stein or the campaign. That included producers from RT News, the Russian state-funded media company, who booked Stein for several appearances, Trainor said…

Trainor, who has done on-and-off work for Stein since formally leaving the campaign in 2015, said he is inclined to cooperate with the committee’s request but wants to first seek legal counsel. He said he believes Stein plans to comply as well and post the documents on her own website “in an effort to show complete transparency and kind of wage her own war against […] what I imagine she thinks is an overblown investigation into collusion.”

Stein did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the committee’s chairman, declined to comment.

Stein has not previously been a major focus during the Russia investigations on Capitol Hill, but her name has surfaced occasionally. The Senate Judiciary mentioned her in a letter to Donald Trump Jr. in July, requesting copies of “all communications to, from, or copied” to the president’s son that related to Stein and a long list of other, more prominent figures in the investigations…

The Senate Intelligence Committee has to ask, because Stein spent her 2016 campaign putting the “idiot” in the time-tested Soviet term “useful idiot”. I very sincerely misdoubt she has anything useful to offer, on this or any other topic, but I expect her interview to be second only in {face-palm} worthy moments to that of Carter Page.

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…