Saturday Morning Open Thread: Social vs. Anti-Social Media

Michelle Goldberg, smart person in the NYTimes, “Our National Emergency Turns 2”:

I feared, at the beginning of this administration, that Trump would try to exploit American intelligence capabilities against his personal enemies, but instead he gets his intelligence from Fox News. The fact that so many high-level Trump associates have pleaded guilty to crimes is a sign of his corruption, but it also shows he hasn’t corrupted our entire system.

Trump has turned out to be the Norma Desmond of authoritarians, a senescent has-been whose delusions are propped up by obsequious retainers. From his fantasy world in the White House, he barks dictatorial and often illegal orders, floats conspiracy theories, tweets insults and lies unceasingly. But much of the time he’s not fully in charge. He has the instincts of a fascist but lacks both the discipline and the loyal lieutenants he’d need to create true autocracy.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the country isn’t coming undone. Trump’s bumbling incoherence, coupled with his declining political fortunes since the midterms, makes him seem less frightening than he once did. But, two years in, the jaded weariness many of us have developed might obscure how bad things are. We’re living through an unprecedented breakdown in America’s ability to function like a normal country.

The shutdown throws our crisis into high relief. For the first two years, Trump destroyed American norms, standards and conventions. Now he’s cavalierly destroying American lives…

Gropey Glenn Thrush wails: But mah NARRATIVE!…



2020 Hustings Open Thread: Has Anyone Seen Scott Walker Recently?*

As Warren mingled with the overflow crowd outside a roundtable event, witnesses told NBC News the Trump supporter unfurled a Trump banner and began yelling, which led to an altercation with other attendees. When one man tried to pull down the banner, witnesses said the Trump supporter struck the man on the head with a selfie stick.

The protester, whom police identified as a 58-year-old Minnesota native, was quickly handcuffed. He yelled “Trump 2020!” before being placed in the back of a police car and taken to the county jail.

“Police observed a person, who was in the overflow crowd outside of the facility, allegedly become very vocal while Senator Warren was outside greeting the attendees,” the Storm Lake Police Department said in a statement, adding that he “became aggressive and attempted to assault others in the crowd.”

He was was charged with disorderly conduct, a simple misdemeanor, and held on a $300 bond, the statement added…

*Yes, I realize Gov. Walker is not actually from Minnesota. It’s a Midwestern joke, on the familiar theme that a Wisconsinite facing public embarrassment might pretend to be from a neighboring state, since all those flyover places look alike to the MSM.

But seriously… Per Dave Weigel, at the Washington Post:

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The first question on the first full day of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Iowa presidential campaign swing was the one her political opponents craved. It came not from a reporter, or a heckler, but from an attendee among those packed into Sioux City’s Orpheum Theatre on Saturday who, like everyone else, had gotten a ticket that allowed her to ask the senator anything.

“Why did you undergo the DNA testing and give Donald more fodder to be a bully?” she asked.

There was a sound of muttering from the audience of 575 voters, and Warren let out a sigh. “Yeah, well,” she said. “I’m glad you asked that question. I genuinely am. I’m glad for us to have a chance to talk about it.”…

“I am not a person of color; I am not a citizen of a tribe,” she said. “Tribal citizenship is very different from ancestry. Tribes, and only tribes, determine tribal citizenship, and I respect that difference. I grew up in Oklahoma, and like a lot of folks in Oklahoma, we heard stories about our ancestry. When I first ran for public office, Republicans homed in on this part of my history, and thought they could make a lot of hay out of it. A lot of racial slurs, and a lot of ugly stuff. And so my decision was: I’m just gonna put it all out there. Took a while, but just put it all out there.”
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: True (Truth) Believers

I spent Thursday morning at the swearing in of the new Congressional Black Caucus at the historic Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. If you’ve never been to a CBC swearing in before (I hadn’t) it’s quite a sight to see. Black politicos of every stripe line the halls and crowd into the room dressed in something between “Sunday best” and “Friday night, after work, I’m-heading-to-Happy-Hour” style. However unlike Congressional Black Caucus weekend, which is a party for the politically initiated, the swearing in felt like a mixture between the first day of school and an HBCU graduation…

If you’ve ever been to an HBCU graduation (or heard the reactions of the few scattered black parents when that first generation kid walks across the stage at a predominately white institution) you know how loud and celebratory black folks can get. The CBC swearing in was no different. The cheers when the entire panoply of political talent came across the stage were amazing. Specifically whenever Jahana Hayes name was mentioned a group in the back left of the theater went crazy like she’d just shouted out Waterbury, Conn. in a call-and-response lyric. Maxine Waters came on stage and gave the “Wakanda Forever” salute to her colleagues and the audience roared so loud you’d have thought there was vibranium in the rafters. Clearly picking up on the vibe, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came in and spoke about the great work that the Congressional Black Caucus has done under the leadership of Cedric Richmond and how the CBC was officially the “nuck” for her Congressional “buck” when it came to dealing with Trump…
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Open Thread: The Political Horse-Race Touts Are Warming Up to Warren

For better or worse. At least she’s out there!

Warren showed her early strength again on Tuesday by signing up four experienced Iowa operatives to her campaign team. It’s an impressive haul. Especially notable is the range of experience they have. She added one staffer from Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign, two from Hillary Clinton’s, and one from Barack Obama’s 2008 run. That’s the sign of a candidate attempting to run a coalition-style campaign — the kind that has captured every Democratic nomination since 1984…

Of course, Warren won’t be the only candidate who will attempt to build a broad coalition. And it obviously takes a lot more than four good hires to do that anyway. It’s also true that Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016 with a factional campaign that received very little support, and plenty of hostility, from party actors. Still, this is a path that winners have taken.

Beyond that, this kind of news is important for two reasons. One is that the specific skills these folks possess are scarce resources within each party, and those candidates who fail to secure enough of them are at a real disadvantage in the campaign — perhaps enough to drop out entirely before the Iowa caucuses. Another reason is that when campaign professionals side with a particular candidate, it’s a signal to other party actors that they should take that person seriously. As parties compete and coordinate over presidential nominations, we tend to focus on high-profile endorsements and fund-raising from party sources to determine a candidate’s chances. But it’s very likely that decisions such as these matter just as much…

John Cassidy, in the New Yorker, “Don’t Underestimate Elizabeth Warren and Her Populist Message”:

The rap on Warren is that she missed her best chance in 2016, allowing Bernie Sanders to seize the mantle of populist tribune, and blundered last fall by rekindling the controversy over her ancestry. These are backward-looking critiques, the force of which is yet to be determined. What we know for sure is that, with at least a dozen Democrats thinking seriously about entering the primary, it will take someone resolute, resilient, and well organized to prevail. The successful candidate will need a message that distinguishes her or his campaign from the pack and resonates with Democratic voters. Since the prize is a head-to-head contest with Donald Trump, the winner will have to be someone who doesn’t shy away from confrontation.

On all of these grounds, an argument can be made for Warren, who has been in the Senate since 2012. Ever since Trump launched his 2016 Presidential bid, she has been mocking him. “Let’s be honest—Donald Trump is a loser,” she wrote in March, 2016. “Count all his failed businesses. See how he kept his father’s empire afloat by cheating people with scams like Trump University and by using strategic corporate bankruptcy (excuse me, bankruptcies) to skip out on debt.” At other points, Warren called Trump a “small, insecure money-grubber” a “loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud,” and “a large orange elephant.”

Trump isn’t the only powerful man that Warren has taken to task. At a 2016 hearing of the Banking Committee, on which she sits, she told the chief executive of the scandal-plagued Wells Fargo that he should resign immediately and “give back the money you took while the scam was going on.” Before the February, 2017, confirmation vote for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Republicans used an obscure Senate rule to silence Warren as she tried to read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King, in which the civil-rights leader opposed Sessions’s nomination to a federal judgeship. “She was warned,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, said subsequently. “She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”…
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Open Thread: Elizabeth Warren Is Not Here for the DC Press Corpse’s Weak Sauce

Got an email from my senior & favorite Senator this morning:

When Elizabeth first decided to run for the Senate in 2012, she ran against a Republican senator who had a 65% approval rating, $10 million in the bank, and a cool pick-up truck…in a state that had never in its history elected a woman senator or governor.

So we’re used to the tired, beard-stroking opinion pieces masquerading as smart political analysis.

We’re used to being compared to any woman who’s ever lost an election, and we’re used to the anonymous, angsty quotes from “concerned” insiders, and the she-can-never-win garbage churned out by the Republican propaganda machine and recycled by the media.

And you know what? We’re also used to proving them all wrong. Because here’s the truth: we outraised, outworked, and beat – by eight points – that Republican senator nobody said we could defeat…

If you get frustrated when commentators spend more time covering Elizabeth or any woman’s “likability” than her plans for huge, systemic change to make this country work for all of us, do something productive about it:

Chip in $5 right now to becoming a founding member of our Elizabeth Warren 🧐 Fund. (We’re calling it the “You Know it When You See It” Fund because, well, you know why.)…



Open Thread: Elizabeth Warren for President(ial Candidate)!

I’m selfish enough that I’d love to keep Warren as my own personal Senator, yet I’d be perfectly happy to see her in the Oval Office (and not just because we’d all be happy to see any Democrat in the Oval Office, considering the current squatter). But it’s not a small thing that every minute the Cosplay Socialists and their MAGAt playmates and the Media Horse-Race Touts spend attacking Warren — Pocahontas! Schoolmarm! Fumbling! SKREEEE! — is a minute they’re not targeting Kamala Harris / Kristen Gillibrand / Amy Klobuchar / Beto O’Rourke / AnyOtherDemocraticCandidate. I wasn’t 100% convinced about her potential candidacy until I attended one of her (many) town halls last fall; she’s damned impressive in person, and I suspect a lot of the Savvy Cultists are gonna be unpleasantly surprised at how many primary voters aren’t impressed by their ‘wisdom’ regarding her.

What I see as her greatest liability, right at this moment (apart from interference by foreign nationals, of course) is that Warren seems like she could lose the nomination and happily go back to her objectively pleasant life with no regrets. There’s a bias, among the media and it *seems* among the most committed primary/caucus voters, to assume that any candidate who won’t wake up suicidal the morning after their loss is a candidate who ‘just doesn’t care enough’. Which is, IMO, no doubt a good way to pick this year’s winners for The Voice or Dancing with the Stars, but a very bad way to pick one’s leaders…



Nicely Played, Senator Warren

Message from my favorite Senator, just as I was about to go to bed…

… I’m not afraid of the facts, so today we’re launching a new Fact Squad website for anyone who wants see the facts for themselves:

http://www.elizabethwarren.com/heritage

This new website has more than you’d ever want to know about the smears, made-up quotes, and invented stories thrown at me . It has personnel files. It has interviews with the people who hired me – and it has my own family members’ opinions about the attacks.

At that point, I could have quit, but I took the extra step and did a DNA test. One of the world’s leading geneticists did a full work up and concluded that it contains Native American ancestry.

The first Native American in our family that can be proved is generations back, and the geneticist says there could be others. No matter. It’s my family, and – like it or not Donald Trump – my family’s stories are supported by this test…

Pessimists will point out that there are not enough Native Americans in the existing databases to make granular statements, but hey: Senator Warren’s parents told her not just their truth, but the truth about her family history.

Donald Trump owes some charity a million bucks, and I’m sure we’ll see him make good on that public promise just as soon as the biogeneticists introduce their exciting line of flying pigs.