Repubs in Disarray!… Open Thread: Trump vs. Pence (Rooting for Injuries)

Tom LoBianco has a book to sell, but it’s nice to contemplate the rats infighting on the Titanic. Yahoo News:

On the surface, Trump and Pence insist they have a great relationship and are working closer than ever to win reelection in 2020. (They’ve consistently beaten back rumors that former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is in the running to replace Pence on the 2020 ticket.)

But behind the scenes, tensions have been mounting among Trump, Pence and their top advisers ever since the GOP’s resounding losses in the 2018 midterms. In the weeks afterward, Trump asked aides about replacing Pence on the ticket, and he asked again for their thoughts on Pence during his August vacation at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., according to Trump advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about private discussions with the president.

Current and former Trump and Pence advisers interviewed for this story, as well as my forthcoming biography of Pence, “Piety & Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House,” consistently described a personal relationship between Trump and Pence that is warm but somewhat aloof. Pence has a lane that he sticks to in the White House — conservative social policy — but he is not considered to be as influential as people like Jared Kushner or Stephen Miller.

But the relationship between their political teams has soured greatly in the past year, according to a dozen Trump and Pence aides and Republican advisers familiar with the dynamic. In particular, rumors that Kushner and Ivanka Trump wanted to consider replacements for Pence — specifically trying to find a woman running mate to help win back the suburbs in 2020 — have worried the vice president’s camp, according to Trump and Pence campaign advisers who spoke on background for this story…
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Open Thread: “Does Joe Biden Want to Be Doing This?”

You think anyone other than Joe Biden has the power to stop him, right now? Eugene Robinson, at the Washington Post “It’s still Biden’s race to lose”:

The big news in the Democratic presidential race is that not much has changed since Joe Biden jumped in…

For me, the striking thing is how little the race changed over the summer. Since late May, Biden’s support has never gone below 26 percent — his nadir after getting sliced and diced by Harris in the first debate — and no other candidate has climbed as high as 19 percent.

Polls in the key early primary and caucus states tell the same story. The RealClearPolitics average shows Biden with a solid lead in Iowa, a slim lead in New Hampshire, and huge leads in both Nevada and South Carolina. If those numbers hold and he wins all four of those states, it’s pretty much game over…

At 76, Biden has to show that he’s still sharp and vigorous enough to vanquish Trump and then serve four years in the most demanding job in the world. In the first debate, he seemed old, tired, at times befuddled. Since then, in my view, he has been much better, though questions remain.

If Democrats choose Biden, they will have a nominee who can get carried away while telling stories, who can mix up names and dates, who can be a font of malapropisms. His top-tier rivals speak in crisper, more well-formed sentences; heck, Buttigieg speaks in whole polished paragraphs. But as voters decide who’s best to beat Trump and repair the damage he’s done to the nation, I believe they want more than eloquence. I think they’re looking for “electability,” whatever that means; they’re looking for a fighter who won’t back down; and they’re looking for leadership…

The most glowing line on Biden’s political CV is the eight years he spent as Obama’s vice president… And the image of the Obama presidency is being transformed with every second that El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago remains in office. The Obama presidency can now be seen as an oasis of blessed calm between two Category 5 political tempests. Obama came in after the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush and before the catastrophic presidency* that we are now enjoying. The further we get from it, the better this image of the Obama years is going to look, and all the better for Joe Biden as it does.

For all the racetrack touts and analytics, Biden has one very strong political advantage going for him. People just want things to get back to normal again. They want a president who isn’t manifestly unqualified and clearly half-mad. They want their Twitter accounts to go back to featuring dogs and cute pictures of the grandkids. They want a Congress that can work smoothly enough so that they can go back to ignoring it again. In fact, they’d like a government that can work smoothly enough so that they can go back to ignoring it again. I am not one of these people and, very likely, you’re not, either. But there are a helluva lot of them out there, and I suspect Joe Biden appeals to them more than any of his rivals do. He is a president you can forget about, at least for a moment.

But whatever you think of the NYTimes‘ Mark ‘This Town’ Leibovich, he’s got a predator’s eye for a candidate’s weaknesses…

How badly do you want to be president?” Joseph R. Biden Jr. was asked after a recent speech in Prole, Iowa. The answer to such an inquiry would appear self-evident in the case of Mr. Biden, who began his running-for-president routine more than three decades ago; in other words, very badly, one would assume.

But the question, posed by a reporter, seemed to come at Mr. Biden as a bit of a curveball — a variant of the “Why do you want to be president?” riddle that CBS’s Roger Mudd famously stumped Ted Kennedy with 40 years ago. The former vice president paused.

“I think it’s really, really, really important that Donald Trump not be re-elected,” Mr. Biden said, more of a rationale than answer. He then launched into a classic Biden roller derby of verbiage in which he listed all the reasons he found Mr. Trump so distasteful. He landed on a question to himself.

“Could I die happily not having heard ‘Hail to the Chief’ play for me?” the Democratic front-runner asked. “Yeah, I could,” he said. “That’s not why I’m running.”
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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Tis the Season

On the one hand, yeah, I’m sorry to be so repetitive. On the other hand… Stay safe, y’all…

Small good thing: Chella Phillips and her 97 ‘Voiceless Dog’ refugees came through battered but (relatively) safe, per the Washington Post:

Dorian lingered in the Bahamas for much of the weekend. Phillips told news outlet WFTS on Monday that she lost power and water came into her home at one point, but that all inhabitants — human and canine — were doing okay.

She posted another update to Facebook a few hours later, noting she and her brother had passed “a stressful night” trying to combat serious flooding. All her TVs were “fried” from the lightning, Phillips wrote, which meant “no more cartoons for the sick dogs.”
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Open Thread: Some Minor Pushback on the Gun-Fondlers, Finally

But, of course, #MoscowMitch will fight to the last ruble…

Reminder: There’s more of us than of them… if we can learn to leverage our strength:

(Holiday) Monday Morning Open Thread

Happy news: Someone who might or might not be Paul Broncks (note the twitter address) is back:

And a little practical inspiration, from the Washington Post“For Baltimore teachers heading back to school, the Book Thing is a treasure”:

A 6,955-square-foot warehouse in Baltimore’s Abell neighborhood holds something of a treasure trove for the city’s teachers.

As they prepare for Tuesday’s first day of school, educators are making last-minute trips to the Book Thing, carefully sorting through the thousands of novels and textbooks and dictionaries they can use to build up their classroom libraries — all free.

For years, people have dropped off unwanted books at the Book Thing’s doors and then gone inside to browse through others’ donated stories. Anyone is welcome to take home as many books as they want from the used book “store.” Some tuck a novel or two into their totes and head out. Others fill cardboard boxes to the brim…

It’s a uniquely important resource for city teachers, whose struggle to pay for the books they needed to fill their classrooms inspired the Book Thing’s creation two decades ago.

Dan Parsons, an English teacher at Frederick Douglass High, walked out of the Book Thing on Saturday with a loaded box in his hands and even more books stuffed into his canvas backpack.

At his West Baltimore school — where many students come from poverty and witness the city’s unrelenting gun violence up close — Parsons transformed his classroom into a literary oasis. Hundreds of books cover nearly every surface. He uses stocked bookshelves to cordon off reading nooks where students can escape into the kinds of stories that both reflect their own experiences and open their minds to new ones…

Yeah, in a better world, we wouldn’t need volunteers to help out teachers who are digging into their own sparse funds to support their students. But there are kids who need those books now — they can’t wait for perfection.