In normal years, this would be the official kickoff to the political Silly Season -- the dog days of August when Congress scarpers off for five or six weeks to have fun in the sun at taxpayer expense, and the political chattering classes have so little material to work with that they pick one silly issue and just absolutely obsess over it. This year, however, is not normal, as instead we're right at the kickoff of Presidential Debate Season, and the votes are already in -- the silly subject we're all going to obsess over this year is named Donald Trump. Whether this obsession takes the form of crushing depression (headline: "A GOP Led By Donald Trump Will Fail, And Deserve It") or unconcealed glee (headline: "Christmas Comes Early This Year -- Anticipating The Gift Of A Trump-Fueled GOP Debate") depends, of course, on the viewpoint of the pundit.
Archive of Articles for July, 2015
Medicare turned 50 years old today. Only 15 more years, and it'll be eligible for itself!
It's time to think about what has previously been in the realm of the unthinkable: Donald Trump might just become the Republican nominee for president. Two months ago, that statement would have elicited nothing but a big old belly laugh from just about anyone who pays any attention to politics. Nowadays, though, nobody's laughing. The very concept has moved from the surreal to the possible. So it's time to actually think about what it would mean for the country and for the Republican Party.
The August congressional break is almost upon us. The political silly season has already begun (see: Trump, Donald). Congress is about to scarper off for their taxpayer-paid monthlong summer vacation, after proving once again how pathetic the institution has truly become. I say this in condemnation of both parties, really, although with Republicans running both houses, the blame certainly falls on them in much greater proportion this time around.
As I've been predicting for a while now, the fight for the final two slots in the first primetime Republican presidential debate has begun to heat up. When Fox News announced that they would be limiting the number of candidates invited to their debate to only the top ten in polling, it was inevitable that there would be a struggle to get on the main stage. But there will also be a "consolation prize" debate (better known as the "kids' table" debate) earlier in the day, which will feature those who didn't make the cut -- and it could wind up being even more interesting and quotable than the main event.
Two weeks ago, we kind of went out on a limb (the polling evidence was not all that clear when we wrote it) and subtitled our previous column: "Donald Trump, Frontrunner." Since that time, such a statement has gone from being a wild prediction to becoming an equally-wild reality. The first Republican presidential debate is happening in less than two weeks, and Donald Trump is not only guaranteed one of the ten slots, he will quite likely be at the center of the stage, since his poll numbers currently dwarf all the other GOP contenders.
There's a battle beginning in Congress over civil rights. Those in favor of gay rights are attempting what might become the last legislative battle they ever have to fight. Those against gay rights are attempting to legalize discrimination against gay people -- married gay people in particular. Both are reactions to the Supreme Court ruling that gay marriage is a civil right for everyone in America, of course. And, because of the timing, both issues will likely resonate in the presidential nomination contests currently underway.
Yes, it's true. This past weekend, I joined 11,000 other people in Phoenix to "feel the Bern," as the supporters of Bernie Sanders would put it. Sanders held a rally in the city immediately after the Netroots Nation conference concluded, which made it pretty easy for me to attend (and take a few photos). Netroots routinely draws a crowd of around 3,000, so even if everyone from the conference went to the Bernie rally (actually, not everyone did), the conference crowd could only roughly have been about a quarter of the people there to see Bernie. The rest were locals from a very red state. All there to feel the Bern, as it were.
As for the Netroots Nation convention itself, the most notable thing was that two Democratic candidates for president showed up, and three did not. Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley were both on hand to court Lefties, but I had to wonder where Hillary Clinton was. Lincoln Chafee seems to barely be running, so it's easy to see why he might not have had the cash on hand for a plane ticket. Jim Webb seems to only be courting Southern white voters, so he may have made a conscious decision to snub Netroots. But Hillary's absence was indeed notable.