Not a Good Look for Anyone Involved

There’s a big pointless pissing match going on between Pelosi and “The Squad” (AOC, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley). Here’s their side of the story and here’s Pelosi’s. You’ll have to read the whole thing to get the full flavor of what’s going on, but the short story is that Pelosi seems miffed that these four did not support the border deal, and they’re upset about how tough Pelosi is sounding towards them. Also, there doesn’t seem to be much of a personal relationship between these four and Pelosi, but I doubt that there’s much of a relationship between Pelosi and other first-year members.

Nobody wins a mudfight like this, and everyone gets dirty. Why this is happening while the House is dragging its feet on impeachment–or even any deep, ongoing investigation of Trump–is beyond me. The Judiciary Committee just issued subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions and a bunch of other unindicted co-conspirators, as part of an investigation of obstruction of justice, months after it’s obvious that justice was obstructed and Jared and the littlest KKK gnome knew about it. The Intelligence Committee, in its own sweet time, will probably issue a few more for some other aspect of the massive number of crimes and misdemeanors committed by the Trump Administration. Our investigative effort is slow and piecemeal, it appears weak, and it is being thwarted.

If I want to make an excuse for Pelosi in general, it is that she is smart enough to count votes, and the weaklings in her caucus don’t know how to do anything but run away from difficult votes and man the phones to raise money. Perhaps they are justified by being in tough districts, but perhaps they’re also used to dodging anything tough and getting away with it. But what I don’t understand is why there’s no House Select Committee on Criminal Activity in the Executive Branch, led by some hard hitter (sorry, not Jerry Nadler), staffed with some of the smartest attorneys in the US, and containing members who can ask tough, incisive questions (AOC would be on my list, if not on Pelosi’s). The Senate Watergate Committee was where the action was when Nixon was dragged under, not the House Judiciary Committee. We need another, similar committee today.

Warren Says NOPE to Fox News Town Hall

Good for her:

I get why Democratic presidential primary candidates appear on Fox: It burnishes their bipartisan bona fides and can generate a lot of positive press from a Beltway media that is determined to uphold Fox News’ legitimacy as a “sister organization,” as Jake Tapper once called it.

But while preening hacks like Tapper may coo over the alleged bravery of Dems who appear on the TrumpCo propaganda outlet, in my book, Warren’s is the more courageous approach. She’s standing up for something more important than a momentary bump in the polls or both-sidesy hack approval; she’s standing up for the truth, which is that Fox News is a white grievance/racism distribution network that has done incalculable damage to America. Warren, quoted in HuffPo:

“A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it’s safe to buy ads on Fox ― no harm to their brand or reputation (spoiler: it’s not),” she said. “I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates ― especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers.”

So far, Sanders and Klobuchar have done a Fox News town hall, and Gillibrand and Buttigieg have scheduled one. Castro is said to be “in the process of scheduling one,” and Booker, O’Rourke and Harris are considering it.

Again, it might work out for those individual candidates as a campaign strategy, but appearing on Fox News undermines the larger and ongoing project of documenting the network’s relentless bias and discrediting it as a legitimate news source outside wingnut circles. People like Jane Mayer have done great work to that end, and when Democratic presidential candidates appear on Fox News, they undermine that work. That’s not brave. It’s selfish.

High on His Own Supply

This Joe Lockhart op-ed was published in the Times (of course) a couple of weeks ago, but I only saw it yesterday as part of Dahlia Lithwick’s excellent piece about impeachment. Here’s Lockhart’s main argument against impeachment:

Allowing Mr. Trump to lead the Republican Party, filled with sycophants and weak-willed leaders, into the next election is the greater prize. Democrats have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realign American politics along progressive lines, very much like Ronald Reagan did for Republicans in the 1980s.

Trumpism equals Republicanism as long as Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket. And a real shift to progressivism in America will be delivered by a devastating rebuke of the president and his party, a rebuke that will return control of the Senate and state houses across the nation. Politics is always a gamble — and this is the best bet we’ve had in a long time.

I happened to come across this piece right after looking at the Ballotopedia Senate map. Anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the politics of the current millenium has to look at that map to see that winning back the Senate will be, at best, a nail-biter. We need to flip Arizona, Colorado and Maine – all do-able with the right candidate – if we are just going to have a 50/50 Senate. Then what? Texas? Beto ran away from Big John Cornyn. Georgia? Stacey Abrams, the best candidate in Georgia in a generation, is not going to challenge Perdue. We might flip Iowa, but that’s doubtful. The rest of the states are looking pretty safe to me.

Assuming that the residents of the red states on the Senate map will be disgusted by Trump and Trumpism, and therefore vote for a party that doesn’t even have the strength to pursue impeachment of the most impeachable President in history, is probably the most insular and stupid thing that I’ve heard come out of DC in a long time. While Joe Lockhart was busy collecting a salary in DC and spinning wank tales, Republicans were busy gerrymandering, vote suppressing and propagandizing in those red states. There will not be a Progressive wave until there’s a Democratic state legislature and governor in most of those states, so the vote suppression can be rolled back. Almost everyone who still calls themselves a Republican is at least OK with Trump being in office (at least he isn’t Clinton!) for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with their moral compass, and a lot to do with whatever lies Fox is dishing out today.

This has gotten too long but in case it isn’t obvious, my take isn’t that Democrats should avoid impeachment, but rather that they should investigate the shit out of this Presidency until it’s bloody obvious that Trump ought to be impeached. Then, throw it at the Senate and let Mitch McConnell decide how he wants to obstruct justice.

Clown Car Open Thread: I, of Course, Blame the Oval Office Occupant

The curve for mediocre white men is very real. Perhaps it is my natal chauvinism, but as far as I can tell, Bill de Blasio is the 21st century version of John V. Lindsay: A less-than-popular NYC mayor whose only qualification for higher office is “I am extremely tall and have presidential hair.”

I mean, say what you will about Marianne Williamson (I am not a supporter, or even a reader), but at least she has millions of actual fans. Getting dinged as one of the no-hopers who didn’t even make the 20-person debate cut’ hardly seems worth taking media attention away from those candidates who do have a shot, and Goddess knows we don’t lack for qualified candidates already.

But then again, if you’ve got the kind of ego required for a political career, and you look at the farcical puppet now representing America and the Republican party…

Hey @aravosis! Check This Out!

Earlier today John Aravosis decided to rightly tear the bark off of Waleed Shahid:

Since I don’t tweet, I thought I’d link to and reprise some of my takedown of Shaheed’s attempt to misrepresent Senator Feinstein’s actions back in February, which was fresh on the heels of his attempt to do the same thing to Senator Harris. In both cases he barbered video footage until he got the out of context material he wanted and then weaponized it on Twitter. And I’d appreciate it if those of you who do tweet would tweet this at Aravosis.

Anyhow, as I wrote back in February:

Earlier today Waleed Shahid, fresh off of getting dragged for posting barbered and highly edited clips of Senator Harris from her town hall on his twitter feed several weeks ago, decided it was time to set his sights on the senior senator from California. As I suspected in the comments to an earlier post, Shahid had once again posted heavily edited videos on his twitter feed to go after someone that doesn’t measure up to his purity fanaticism. Fortunately, just like the last time, someone came along to set the record straight.

Shahid was once again full of shit, imagine that!!!!

Unfortunately, for all too many, Shahid’s lies will have already been taken as the gospel truth. It is bad enough that Democratic candidates and Democratic officeholders, as well as the organizations and individuals who support them, are going to be subjected to influence operations from the Russians, as well as a host of other state and non-state actors as we move into the 2020 elections, they shouldn’t have to also worry about being targeted by ideological fanatics like Shahid.

And as for the Justice Democrats, apparently they are running a protection scam where they require the candidates they endorse to send them funds rather than raise funds and send them to the candidates they’re endorsing! 

These fanatics aren’t interested in making things better, they are interested in promoting themselves, fleecing their donors, and ultimately tearing down the people that have the only real chance of ending the current President’s reelection chances and then beginning the long, hard, slow, and frustrating work of fixing all of the messes that the President, his administration, and his Republican Party and conservative movement enablers have created. I’m all for opening up the debate and pulling the center back somewhere closer to where it should be from where the Republicans and the conservative movement have pulled it for over the past 40 years. Waleed Shahid, the Justice Democrats, his fellow travelers, and their attempt to create an ideological inflexible Tea Party and Breitbart of the left is not the solution to any of these problems.

As I’ve been writing here for almost three years, we were attacked and are still being attacked by a hostile foreign power! We are at war! But rather than everyone that isn’t supporting the domestic beneficiaries of the ongoing attacks – the President, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement that supports them –  pulling together to fix our problems, Shahid and his fellow travelers would rather do the enemy’s work for them and pull us apart. With “friends” like these, Democrats, liberals, progressives, the center left to left of center Americans don’t actually need enemies.

Many more tweets and links exposing Shaheed’s and the Justice Democrats’ scam at the original post.

Open thread!