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Friday Talking Points [418] -- President-Shaming Might Just Work

[ Posted Friday, December 9th, 2016 – 19:01 PST ]

OK, that's a rather unusual title, but you'll have to wait until the talking points part of the program for us to address it. Call it "the lesson to be learned from the Carrier jobs and Donald Trump," or the silver lining that just might be an effective tool for Democrats in the near future. First, though, we've got to get through the news of the week and handing out our weekly awards.

President-Elect Donald Trump continues to assemble his Cabinet of Deplorables (to coin a phrase), nominating people who are either actively hostile to each department's basic purpose in life, or laughably unqualified for any such important position.

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Governing Irrationally

[ Posted Thursday, December 8th, 2016 – 18:27 PST ]

Donald Trump's impending presidency is cause for a lot of concern among many, including both his political opponents and members of his own party. This can all be boiled down to the basic question of what, exactly, Trump is going to do as president. At this point, it's almost impossible to know whether he'll try to follow through on even the strongest of his campaign promises, or whether he'll decide to chart a completely different course once in office. That's what is worrying so many -- people both against Trump and for Trump alike.

Trump has been and continues to be incredibly malleable on his core politics. It's an open question if he even has any core politics, in fact. Was everything he said on the campaign trail just crowd-pleasing hype designed to get him elected? Does he really believe any of it? How much, and which parts? Again, all open questions.

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Obama Poll Watch -- November, 2016

[ Posted Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 – 18:06 PST ]

The Lame-Duck Honeymoon

President Obama is on track to end his second term in office with higher job approval than he began it, back in January of 2013. Call it the third (or lame-duck) honeymoon, if you will. Obama saw record job approval in November, measured both monthly and daily, and tied his daily low for job disapproval (previously set February 24, 2013). After a very strong October, Obama charted an even stronger November in public opinion polls. Let's take a look at the new chart for this month to see all of this.

Obama Approval -- November 2016

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

November, 2016

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Program Note

[ Posted Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 – 22:33 PST ]

Sorry, no new column today. Holiday preparations took too much of my time, so I won't be able to complete November's Obama Poll Watch column -- which will have to run tomorrow. My apologies for the delay.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

A Response: My Election Blame List

[ Posted Monday, December 5th, 2016 – 18:22 PST ]

This article was written in response to a Huffington Post article by Max Weiss, which was in turn written as a response to a Slate article. The original Slate article was titled: "So We're Still Blaming Jill Stein And James Comey, Huh?" and the Weiss response was titled: "Things I Blame For Hillary Clinton's Loss, Ranked." But the Weiss list was so far removed from my own feelings about the Clinton loss that I felt it was time to respond with my own blame list. It's been a month since the election, so hopefully enough time has passed that Democrats can discuss what went so wrong. So here is my own list of the things I blame for the 2016 election loss, ranked. And I have to quote Weiss in saying (while he was blaming Bernie Sanders): "I know this is going to piss a lot of people off, but so be it."

 

1-15. HILLARY CLINTON AND HER CAMPAIGN

Hillary Clinton was the wrong candidate for this election. She might have won in a different year, against a different opponent. Her strongest point, oddly enough, was the one thing the Democratic National Committee seemed scared to highlight -- she is a great debater, and whether facing Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump did an excellent job on the debate stage. But it just wasn't enough. So here it is, broken down.

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Friday Talking Points [417] -- Turkey Leftovers

[ Posted Friday, December 2nd, 2016 – 17:25 PST ]

So, has everyone had their fill of turkey leftovers? Well, taking a quick look at Donald Trump's cabinet choices should suffice anyone who still craves some leftover turkeys, if you know what we mean.

The most amusing headline we've seen so far came from Trump's consideration of David Petraeus for secretary of State: "Hillary Clinton wasn't charged with mishandling classified information. Trump might appoint someone convicted of it." Heh.

Trump's big photo op this week was at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis, where he announced he had only saved half the jobs which had been planned to move to Mexico. A thousand Carrier workers will still soon be out of a job, but Trump played it as a total victory. He only had to get Mike Pence to give up $7,000,000 in tax breaks from Indiana (Pence had refused the same deal earlier, a detail that also got lost in all the breathless reporting). Which, as Bernie Sanders quickly pointed out, is going to encourage all sorts of companies to threaten to move their workforce unless the government gives them some fat corporate welfare as well. Hey, Carrier got $7,000 per job, maybe we can hold out for $10,000 each!

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Welcome To Our Annual Holiday Pledge Drive!

[ Posted Thursday, December 1st, 2016 – 20:40 PST ]

It's December once again, which means it is time once again for our annual holiday pledge drive, complete with lots and lots of kitten photos, which are designed to fill you up with holiday cheer and inspire you to open up your wallet with joy. Hey, at least we're up front with our shameless advertising techniques, right?

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

 

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Legalization's March Continues, With Or Without Democrats To Lead It

[ Posted Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 – 18:55 PST ]

Nancy Pelosi just got re-elected to lead the House Democrats, but almost a third of them voted for a much younger representative who urged the party to shift focus in a major way. Hillary Clinton underperformed among minorities and young people, which contributed in a big way towards her loss in the presidential election. And Barack Obama, in a Rolling Stone "exit interview" just revived one of the major Democratic problems he ran against, by saying: "The point is that politics in a big, diverse country like this requires us to move the ball forward not in one long Hail Mary to the end zone, but to, you know, systemically make progress." This, from a man who ran on: "Yes we can!' as a campaign slogan.

Democrats are, obviously, in a phase of attempting to rediscover what their party stands for -- and how strongly they will stand for anything, as well. So far, the results are mixed, at best. Which leads me to (once again) suggest a rather obvious issue that would help Democrats with all of these problems: start supporting marijuana legalization in a big way. The time has come. It's time to stop timidly "leading from behind."

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Program Note

[ Posted Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 – 19:55 PST ]

Sorry, but there will be no new column today, as I am busy getting the annual pledge drive together. There will be kittens. Consider yourselves duly warned!

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

A Post-Truth Presidency

[ Posted Monday, November 28th, 2016 – 17:09 PST ]

We're approaching the end of the year, so we can all expect to hear lots of "the year that was" items in the news. One of the earliest entries in this news genre came from across the pond:

Oxford Dictionaries has selected "post-truth" as 2016's international word of the year, after the contentious "Brexit" referendum and an equally divisive U.S. presidential election caused usage of the adjective to skyrocket, according to the Oxford University Press.

Now, "post-truth" is just a new spin on an old concept. Stephen Colbert was feeling a bit peeved last week, since "post-truth" is just another way to express Colbert's own famous neologism, "truthiness." But other than coining a new term for it, the idea behind Colbert's (or Oxford's) snappy word certainly isn't new. Back in World War II, it was known as "The Big Lie." The basic idea is an easy one to grasp: believe the hype, not the facts. Repeat a falsehood enough times, and a whole bunch of people start to believe it. Once they do, proving it wrong using facts just doesn't seem to work.

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