ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points -- The Calm After The Storm

[ Posted Friday, September 30th, 2022 – 17:00 UTC ]

We've long thought that America is at her best when disaster strikes. We've thought this since the massive 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, in fact, which we rode out in San Francisco. And we saw firsthand that when life is disrupted, it is disrupted equally. Everyone is affected, so everyone puts aside all their differences and just pitches in to help in the immediate aftermath. Maybe this is a rosy-tinted view, but it still holds mostly true.

Case in point is Hurricane Ian, which just devastated Florida and seems on its way to devastate the Carolinas next. Ian has been one of the biggest hurricanes in American history already (fifth-largest, from one news report) and we haven't even begun to comprehend the scope of the damage or how long it will take to recover from it. The damage isn't even over yet, and most of the East Coast will at least get some heavy rains before Ian disintegrates.

But already, some of the "We're all in this together" spirit has been showing. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis actually had some words of praise for President Joe Biden, which is downright astonishing since DeSantis yearns to run for Biden's job in two years. But there DeSantis was, praising the Biden administration's handling of the crisis so far. DeSantis is also heavily supporting the concept of federal disaster relief money flowing into his state, to help his constituents recover and eventually rebuild.

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Please End This Insanity

[ Posted Thursday, September 29th, 2022 – 14:42 UTC ]

This column isn't about politics. It's about safety, and television, and common sense. Because if things don't change, someone is going to get badly hurt and/or die. While we're all watching. Which is why today I'm writing something I have long thought: no sane person should ever "report live" from a hurricane.

What is the benefit to having a human being standing in a street fighting hurricane-force winds? There is none. A shot of the street itself is more than enough to show what is happening.

During Hurricane Ian, a weather reporter came perilously close to proving this point in the worst way. Watch the video clip if you haven't already seen it. Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel gets hit by a rather large tree branch that is being whipped along by the wind, then struggles to stand up while clinging to a street sign's pole. Another sign behind him has already been blown down by the wind.

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Joe Manchin Gets His Comeuppance

[ Posted Wednesday, September 28th, 2022 – 15:37 UTC ]

A U.S. senator just got his comeuppance this week, and it really couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy. Senator Joe Manchin was forced to pull his pet bill (that would have greenlighted a pipeline in West Virginia), due to lack of bipartisan support. Because he backed down, the government now appears to be in no danger of shutting down this Friday. Both the Senate and the House appear to be on a glide path to passing a short-term budget deal that will kick the "government shutdown" can down the road to mid-December, at the end of the lame-duck Congress. So all around, it's good news: the government will continue to be funded, and Joe Manchin has now gotten a taste of his own medicine.

Forgive me if I sound a wee bit bitter (or feeling a good bit of schadenfreude, more like), but after a full year and a half of watching Joe Manchin essentially proclaim himself king of the Democratic agenda, it's hard not to feel a "what goes around comes around" vibe.

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Questions The January 6th Committee Has Left Unanswered

[ Posted Tuesday, September 27th, 2022 – 15:01 UTC ]

Right before I sat down to write this, the January 6th House Select Committee announced it was postponing tomorrow's publicly-televised hearing, due to Hurricane Ian being scheduled to hit Florida. Nevertheless, I was going to write about the committee today anyway, so these comments will eventually be valid, whenever they do reschedule their hearing. And although it might be seen as an extension of what I say here, I cannot fault the committee for taking into account a natural disaster and being respectful of the people of Florida who will be in danger. Postponing was the right decision, in other words, as far as I am concerned.

Overall, two big things have struck me about the committee's public presentations: how tightly organized they are, providing "good television" (which is not just rare but unheard-of for congressional committees); and how disorganized the scheduling has always been. Most of the hearings have not been announced with much lead time (one was thrown together in a single day), and confusion reigns over what each hearing will consist of.

Perhaps this is all meant to tease the public -- "Tune in, or you might miss a big surprise!" That could be. Or perhaps it is just the committee's internal wrangling -- they reportedly have a hard problem reaching consensus on this stuff, so you get conflicting reports ahead of time as to what to expect next. That could be, too.

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From The Archives -- R.I.P., R.G.B.

[ Posted Monday, September 26th, 2022 – 17:40 UTC ]

Program Note: Sorry for the lack of a new column today, but I had family visiting and therefore was away from politics for the day. I went looking for a column to run again today and came across this, from a little more than two years ago today. Thankfully the worst of my predictions didn't happen, but things sure turned out a lot worse than the rosiest of my projections. In any case, it's already been a long two years and we're going to have to put up with this situation for a long time to come as well, so here's a look at what started it all.

 

Originally published September 21, 2020

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg now rests in peace.

For the rest of us, there will be no rest and very little peace for the next few months -- of that much we can be certain. Because while the phrase is occasionally overused, it is no hyperbole to say that Ginsburg's death has now left America in what can only be called a true constitutional crisis.

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Friday Talking Points -- Trump's "Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irreversible Declassification" Defense

[ Posted Friday, September 23rd, 2022 – 17:26 UTC ]

We do try to avoid it in general, but this week it is impossible not to lead our news wrap-up with the ongoing Donald Trump Follies. Spoiler alert: it wasn't a very good week in Trumpland.

Here's how one Washington Post writer summed things up:

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Nice Try Donny, But No Dice

[ Posted Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 – 14:59 UTC ]

All of Donald Trump's legal defenses (if you can even call them that) for having hundreds of stolen classified U.S. government files in his possession just crashed into the brick-wall reality of a panel of three actual law-abiding appellate judges (as opposed to whatever you want to call Trump's pet district judge who issued the ruling on the special master that Trump was seeking). It wasn't pretty, to put it mildly. The three judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals -- two of them nominated by Trump himself -- all unanimously agreed that the lower court's ruling was hogwash, as well as all the various legal excuses he's been deploying being complete bunk too, just for good measure. It was truly an epic legal smackdown.

The three judges took 28 pages (plus cover page) to eviscerate the initial ruling on the special master as well as Trump's public defense of: "I magically declassified them all just by thinking about it, so there!" The appellate court properly responded (paraphrased a bit): "Who cares? That's not even what's at issue here!"

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Which Hunt?

[ Posted Wednesday, September 21st, 2022 – 15:44 UTC ]

Today Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, announced a civil case against Donald Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization. This stems from a long investigation into fraud committed by the company, mainly tax fraud and bank fraud. It is the first actual legal case against Trump that has been announced, and his reaction was entirely predictable -- calling the whole thing a "witch hunt." But this isn't the only legal problem Trump faces, even if it was the first out of the gate. Trump could soon be looking at criminal charges in more than one jurisdiction and for more than one crime. So the real question is which hunt has the best chance of succeeding?

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To Be Over

[ Posted Tuesday, September 20th, 2022 – 15:13 UTC ]

Joe Biden gave an interview to 60 Minutes last week, and in doing so he made some news. He reiterated his previously-held position on Taiwan (which his aides tried to walk back afterwards), he did not unequivocally say that he was running to get re-elected president in 2024, and he declared: "The pandemic is over." Which, of course, set off a frenzy of: "See? He said it's over!" versus: "It is most definitely not over!" from all sides. But what Biden actually said was a little more subtle than anyone is really giving him credit for.

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The Lame Duck Will Be Busy

[ Posted Monday, September 19th, 2022 – 14:34 UTC ]

The lame-duck Congress, which will take place from just after the midterm election to the end of the calendar year, is shaping up to be a rather busy one. This isn't too unusual, since punting things to the lame-duck period is always a tempting option for politicians worried about their re-election. But this year's lame duck might be more significant than most, because of what is being teed up for it. They'll only have two months to act on all of it, minus all the breaks they'll take for the November and December holidays. And it looks like they'll have a lot to get done.

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