Please support this
holiday season!

Democrats Go Narrow On Impeachment Articles

[ Posted Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 – 17:59 UTC ]

Today, House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. This is a historic development, since it has only previously happened on three other occasions. Somewhat surprisingly, the Democrats opted to only focus very narrowly in the charges they brought, limiting them to the fallout from Trump's attempt to get the Ukrainian government to do opposition research on a political opponent. Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership made a decision in drafting such narrowly-focused articles, since they had the option of including other obviously-impeachable offenses, but in the end chose not to.

Continue Reading »

Year-End Awards Nominations Are Now Open

[ Posted Monday, December 9th, 2019 – 17:54 UTC ]

This isn't a real column, I fully realize, so my apologies in advance for that. But I had to spend time today catching up on getting ready for the holiday season, so I just didn't have the time. I did listen to a fair amount of today's hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee, but it all seemed like more of a rehash than anything new, so I don't really have much more to say about it than that for the moment.

Instead, today I am throwing the nomination process open for our annual year-end "McLaughlin Awards." I am going to commit to publishing these on December 20th and 27th, the final two Fridays of the year. With such a short holiday season, I just don't think it's possible to move that up to starting with our awards this Friday, so we'll have one final Friday Talking Points column of the year before the awards. That's the plan, even if it does mean I'll be real busy the two days after Christmas. I have no idea what other columns will be appearing this month, so stay tuned for other updates.

A few years back, I decided to ask for input into the awards categories, and this has worked out pretty well -- I've gotten some brilliant suggestions in the comments section that I had completely forgotten about. So I made it a tradition along with the columns themselves. Which brings us to this year's prizes.

Continue Reading »

Friday Talking Points -- Rolling Down The Impeachment Track

[ Posted Friday, December 6th, 2019 – 18:48 UTC ]

The impeachment train is rolling right on down the track, and nothing's going to stop it now. That was the big news this week, without question. This has all been happening at breathtaking speed, when you consider the usual glacial pace of things getting done in Washington. Just this week, the House Intelligence Committee put out its report on impeachment, handed it off to the Judiciary Committee, who then held their first hearing, and by week's end Nancy Pelosi was calling for articles of impeachment to be drafted so that the House could vote on them in time for the Christmas break. That all happened in one week.

Of course, Pelosi has had complete control over the timing of all of this, and she is gambling that moving faster rather than slower is going to work out better for Democrats. This decision is already being second-guessed -- and likely will in the future, as well. Pelosi could have chosen a different path, but she has signaled that the impeachment train will continue on the fast track.

Continue Reading »

Mainstream Of American Public A Lot More Progressive Than Media Would Like To Admit

[ Posted Thursday, December 5th, 2019 – 18:12 UTC ]

There is good news for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot who espouse progressive policy positions, according to a recent poll cited by today's Washington Post. But even putting it like that buys in to a rather enormous falsehood that both the media as a whole and the Republican Party would dearly like us all to believe. For decades now, they've been beating the drum of "the American public is center-right," when it is just not true (if indeed it ever was). You see this in the constant framing of Democratic candidates in the media as "too far left" or "going hard left" or "dangerously left ideas" or any of the other myriad of misdirection the media routinely loves to push. As this poll stunningly reveals, this is absolutely false because the wide mainstream of political thought in the public at large is actually currently somewhere between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, on the political ideology scale.

Continue Reading »

The Phase Two Hearings Begin

[ Posted Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 – 18:31 UTC ]

Today, I watched some more daytime television. Eight-and-a-half hours of it, to be precise. Because it was time once again to view gavel-to-gavel coverage of an event that has only taken place three (or four, if you count Nixon) times in our nation's history: the impeachment of a sitting U.S. president. The House Intelligence Committee wrapped up its work for now by voting on and making public their report on their findings of fact, and by doing so handed the impeachment inquiry off to the House Judiciary Committee. Which held its first public hearing today by opening with four constitutional scholars as witnesses.

Three of these witnesses were invited by the majority Democrats, and one by the minority Republicans. As with the Intelligence Committee hearings, both Democrats and Republicans were given ample time to question these witnesses, beginning with a 45-minute segment largely devoted to questions from staff lawyers and followed by individual 5-minute question segments from each of the 41 members of the committee. Which is, of course, why it took so long to watch.

Continue Reading »

Welcome To Our Annual Holiday Pledge Drive!

[ Posted Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 – 22:35 UTC ]

Yes, Virginia, it's that time of year again....

Although every week feels like a month these days (what with the constant firehose of ridiculousness emanating from the White House), we're finally approaching the end of the calendar year. Less than a year from now will be the 2020 election, and a little over a year from now, if things go well, we'll all return to some semblance of sanity. But to get from here to there together, we've got to keep the lights on here at

As usual, we are throwing ourselves on the mercy of our readers to raise the necessary money to continue providing reality-based political commentary here on a daily basis. The site has been ad-free for years now, and we really would like to continue that streak (because we hate ads as much as you do). Also as usual, we are softening the blow of our blatant begging by mesmerizing you with the cuteness of Christmas kittens!



Continue Reading »

Democratic Field Grows, Then Shrinks

[ Posted Monday, December 2nd, 2019 – 18:26 UTC ]

We haven't formally taken the pulse of the Democratic campaign for a month now, so we thought it was time to dive back into the numbers.

In the intervening time, we've seen the total Democratic field (everyone who has run, even if they've subsequently dropped out) grow to a record-setting 29 candidates, although, thankfully, the number of active candidates is now down to "only" 16 left in the race. With so many left to still cover, let's just move right along and break them down one by one.

Continue Reading »

From The Archives -- A Washington Thanksgiving Farce

[ Posted Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 – 17:27 UTC ]

Some days, the humor just writes itself. Today, our illustrious president proved once again (as if any doubt remained) that he is, in fact, dumber than a bag of hammers. At a signing ceremony to proclaim a new centennial coin for the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment next year (women got the right to vote in 1920), Donald Trump mused aloud why this hadn't happened previously. Previous presidents, according to Trump, just didn't know how to get things done, which is why they hadn't proclaimed this centennial before now.

In other words, Trump was mystified why the 100th anniversary of an event hadn't taken place earlier than the 100th anniversary of that event. At this point, even bags of hammers are laughing at his idiocy.

I considered writing a spoof of other centennials Trump could get ahead of the curve on (such as: "Trump announces that LGBT people shouldn't have to wait another 50 years for the centennial of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, but in trying to make it more inclusive Trump just proved his cluelessness even further, by proclaiming it the bi-centennial"). But that seemed like too much work for not enough return. After all, these jokes just write themselves, and I'm sure we'll see plenty of them on the late-night shows tonight.

Continue Reading »

An Idea For A Thanksgiving Question

[ Posted Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 – 17:43 UTC ]

This may be an incredibly naive idea, but at this point it's certainly worth a shot. Call it my offering in the "how to talk to your Republican relatives on Thanksgiving" genre, if you will.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, with all of both the positive and negative connotations that implies. You're supposed to love these folks because they're kin, but at the same time you don't exactly see eye-to-eye on politics -- never have and likely never will. But you don't want to have a big shouting match over the dinner table or around the television, so what do you do when the conversation drifts into politics?

My suggestion: avoid all the Trump drama, and ask your conservative relatives how they see the Republican Party after Trump leaves the stage. Be nice, and concede the possibility of a second term, while pointing out that after eight years, he's going to have to go. What happens then? What would they want to see happen as well as what they think is likely to happen are both areas to explore.

Continue Reading »

What Will Bolton Do?

[ Posted Monday, November 25th, 2019 – 18:00 UTC ]

The biggest remaining question in the impeachment inquiry now is what John Bolton is going to do (or not do, as the case may be). The ball is now squarely in his court, after a federal judge ruled today that Don McGahn can indeed be compelled to testify before a House committee. The judge rightly rejected the "blanket immunity" claim that the White House tried to use to block McGahn's testimony, but of course the case won't be ultimately decided until it gets to the Supreme Court (unless the White House backs down, which seems highly unlikely at this point). Bolton could either use this initial ruling as a reason for deciding to testify, or he could continue to play it coy. This could be a crucial step in the entire impeachment inquiry.

Bolton is a rather odd duck for Democrats to now see as a possible star witness, mostly because most Democrats consider his foreign policy views to be slightly to the right of Attila The Hun. Politics makes for strange bedfellows, but never stranger than this neoconservative warrior being seen as the possible lynchpin to impeaching and removing a Republican president from office. But that's indeed where things stand, at the moment.

Continue Reading »