ChrisWeigant.com

My 2017 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Friday, December 22nd, 2017 – 18:52 PST ]

Sadly, for the first time, we really have to explain our title. It used to be rather self-evident, but then it's been more than a year since The McLaughlin Group went off the air, after the death of host John McLaughlin.

The show was a political chatfest and ran for decades. Regulars such as Clarence Page and Pat Buchanan used to face off every week on all sorts of subjects, but at the end of the year they put on two special awards shows.

Long ago, we decide to write our own suggestions in an homage (which is so much nicer than "in a blatant ripoff of their bit," don't you think?). We've done so for over a decade now (there's a list of links to all of these at the end of this article, for anyone interested in past awards given).

This year, we continue the tradition, because we truly believe the categories that McLaughlin came up with are worth preserving. It forces us to re-examine the entire year, which always leads to tons of stuff we had completely forgotten about. This is a two-part column, which will also run next Friday. Without further ado, let's don our tuxedo and approach the podium for our first award of 2017....

 

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   Biggest Winner Of 2017

We considered taking a global view of this category, in which case we would have given the Biggest Winner Of 2017 to either China (who is winning more and more on the world stage, as America retreats from global politics in a big way), or Angela Merkel (for her rather impressive re-election), or -- the most obvious -- Vladimir Putin. But we decided to look closer to home.

The runner up in this category might be a bit surprising, but the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) was a real winner this year. Not only did an incredible public outcry face the Republicans who were trying to dismantle it (with their failed repeal-and-replace effort, which consumed an inordinate amount of time in Congress), but the Republicans managed to achieve something that even Barack Obama didn't. Obamacare is now more popular than ever, and for the first time a clear majority of Americans approve of it. The old Joni Mitchell lyrics were almost proven true: "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." The threat of losing all the "patient protection" parts of Obamacare and the threat of 24 million people losing their health insurance pushed Obamacare polling higher than it had ever previously been. President Trump tried to undermine it at every turn, but even cutting the signup period in half and slashing the advertising for the signup period didn't work -- millions of Americans still used the exchanges to obtain health insurance for their families.

But there was a bigger winner than that this year, even if it does show a wee bit of bias on the part of the award judging committee. Because, to us, the Biggest Winner Of 2017 was clearly Senator-Elect Doug Jones. Winning a special election in Alabama -- in one of (if not "the") reddest states in the country -- was more than just impressive, it was downright astonishing. Sure, Roy Moore was the most flawed candidate to roll down the pike since Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, but right up to the election itself Moore was still favored to win. This was, after all, Alabama we're talking about.

Doug Jones winning a Senate seat in the Deep South gave tens of millions of Democrats hope for the future -- specifically, the midterm elections next year. His victory even gave millions of Republicans the chance to breathe an enormous sigh of relief, when they realized they wouldn't have Moore tied around their necks like a two-ton millstone for the next three years, always having to answer for whatever crazy thing he just said. They've already got that in President Trump, after all, so many Republicans (especially those up for re-election next year) are profoundly glad that Jones won (whether they'll admit it or not in public).

In 2009, during Barack Obama's first year in office, there was a special election to replace the deceased Teddy Kennedy. Republican Scott Brown won, and in 2010 the GOP picked up 63 House seats and control of the chamber. Here's hoping history repeats itself, after Doug Jones swiped a ruby-red seat away for Democrats. To us, Doug Jones is clearly the Biggest Winner Of 2017.

 

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   Biggest Loser Of 2017

The Republican Party's credibility, maybe? Donald Trump, for only getting one major piece of legislation through Congress during his entire first year in office -- and for not having the traditional "honeymoon" period with the public after assuming office? Al Franken?

Again, we could have gone big here, and said that America was the Biggest Loser of 2017 (for all sorts of reasons, really, but mostly for our diminished presence on the world stage). Or we could have gone generic and given it to "blue-collar Trump voters" who not only got shafted in the tax bill but would also have borne the brunt of the pain had Obamacare been repealed -- Trump conveniently forgot the forgotten in just about everything he did or proposed during the year, in fact. Or we could have bookended Doug Jones's award by giving this one to Roy Moore.

Instead, however, we're going to show our bias once again and award the Biggest Loser Of 2017 to Jon Ossoff. The special election for a House seat in Georgia's Sixth District raised Democratic hopes incredibly high. Ossoff almost won the seat outright (by getting over 50 percent in the first round of voting), but fell short by a few percentage points. An absolutely astounding amount of money was poured into this race, as both sides spent tens of millions of dollars. Not only did it wind up being the most expensive House race in American history, it cost more than many Senate races do.

But for all the money and energy spent by Ossoff and the Democratic Party and all the lefty super PACs, Ossoff came up short. He got pretty much the same share of the vote in the runoff as he did in the first round, and again fell short of 50 percent. Of the four special House elections in which Democrats had hoped for an upset, this was supposed to be the one with the best chance of winning. Plus, the district is Newt Gingrich's old district, so that would have been enjoyable as well.

Alas, it didn't come to pass. Ossoff's loss was the biggest, both emotionally and financially, for the Democrats for the whole year. Which makes him our Biggest Loser Of 2017.

 

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   Best Politician

Kim Jong Un of North Korea certainly proved adept at manipulating American politics and the American president this year. In a different way, Vladimir Putin also showed real mastery at such manipulation as well. Or, seen another way, the Best Politician on the world stage (due to Trump's abdication of America's traditional role) was California Governor Jerry Brown, who stepped up to reassure the world that while Trump was quite obviously in a "Make America Small Again" mood, not everyone in the U.S. had given up on ideas like combating climate change, or even just providing American leadership in general.

Back home, we cynically considered Bob Corker for Best Politician, since his Corker Kickback was such a breathtaking display of self-serving -- flat-out selling his vote and abandoning his stated lofty principles for some cold, hard cash in his own pocket. It really was such a masterful bit of political hypocrisy that it deserves some sort of award, that's for sure.

Our runner-up for the award is Paul Ryan, who has emerged as the real driver of Republican legislation. Donald Trump doesn't do details, to put it mildly. He lied to the public that he had his own "big, beautiful plans" to solve all sorts of problems, but never followed through since he never had any clue what to do. All he wanted was a bill to sign, whether it was on tax cuts or repeal-and-replace Obamacare, or whatever. Into this policy vacuum stepped Ryan, who has been dreaming of screwing over the middle class and the little guy for decades.

But, happily, we have to give the Best Politician to none other than Bernie Sanders. All year long, Bernie has topped the list of "most popular politician" with the American public. His approval ratings are consistently north of 60 percent, far greater than Trump's dismal polling, and outdistancing every other politician polled. Sanders introduced a "Medicare For All" single-payer bill in the Senate, and he's been tirelessly traveling all over the country whipping up his supporters to dream big. Whatever he's doing, he seems to be doing it right, if public opinion is any measure. He's even topping the lists of pundits predicting which Democrats will run for the presidency in 2020. What it all adds up to is Senator Bernie Sanders was -- surprisingly -- the Best Politician of 2017.

 

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   Worst Politician

OK, there's really no doubt in this category. There really was only one other possible nominee -- Roy Moore, for being such a bad politician that a Democrat won a Senate seat in Alabama. That's pretty bad, we have to admit.

But the Worst Politician was painfully obvious this year: Donald Trump. All year long, people fruitlessly waited for the "pivot," where Trump would magically transform himself into a president America didn't have to be continually embarrassed about. It never happened. Trump just can't seem to manage even the smallest and easiest of presidential duties -- even so simple a thing as shaking another world leader's hand. Rex Tillerson spoke for many Americans when he reportedly called his own boss a "fucking moron."

Trump spent much of the year picking fights with people in Congress from his own party. That right there should qualify him for Worst Politician, but there's plenty of other reasons he owns this category. Pretty much anything that came out of his mouth (or off his Twitter fingers) would have qualified him, all year long.

Here are just a few of Trump's gaffes during the year, by way of example.

You know what uranium is, right? It's this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things.

To excuse his woefully inadequate response to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria:

This is an island surrounded by water -- big water, ocean water.

Not content to call white supremacists "very fine people," Trump shared his thoughts on American history:

People don't realize, you know, the Civil War -- if you think about it, why?

On why his border wall with Mexico had to be transparent (you just can't make this stuff up, folks):

When they throw large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don't see them -- they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It's over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall.

When he visited Puerto Rico to assess hurricane damage, he told one family he met: "Have a good time!" and then later said he "enjoyed very much" making the trip, showing a monumental lack of empathy with everyone who had lost everything in the storm.

And -- our personal favorite -- when doing a photo op with four astronauts, Buzz Aldrin made a Buzz Lightyear/Toy Story reference by quoting the famous line: "To infinity -- and beyond!" Trump responded, incoherently:

This is infinity here. It could be infinity. We don't really don't know. But it could be. It has to be something -- but it could be infinity, right?

And that's just a small sample of Trump's idiocy, folks. By just about any measure, Trump is simply incapable of learning how politics actually works. Maybe that's why he plays far more golf than any modern president -- way more than Barack Obama or George W. Bush ever played, despite promising while campaigning that he simply wouldn't have time for golf if elected.

Donald Trump has charted the worst poll numbers of any president since public opinion polling began (during F.D.R.'s time in office). His poll numbers went underwater (where his disapproval rate is more than the approval rate) faster than any other president. Eisenhower and Kennedy never saw this happen at all. For Richard Nixon, it took 53 months of his presidency before it happened. L.B.J., George H. W. Bush, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan all went well over a year before it happened. Gerald Ford saw it happen in only five months (after pardoning Nixon). Bill Clinton saw it happen the fastest -- until now -- at only four months. Donald Trump reached this milestone on his second day in office. By early February he was four points below water, and he's only gotten worse and worse since then. Last week, Trump's polling was over 21 points underwater.

All year long, Trump has posted the worst poll numbers ever seen, in fact. The public never gave him the traditional honeymoon in the polls, and while he is holding on to at least 37 percent of the public as a hardcore base, even this has eroded down from 40 percent (his hard floor earlier in the year).

Donald Trump has not learned how to be a politician, plain and simple. He may be incapable of learning how to do the basic duties of his office. Instead of consoling Gold Star parents, he either lies to them or picks fights with them. Instead of empathizing with hurricane victims, he treats his trip there as a vacation and tosses paper towels to the crowd with glee. He tweets easily-disprovable lies on a daily basis. His White House is plagued with leaks and scandals -- he was also the fastest president to ever have a special counsel investigation launched against him. He refuses to give press conferences -- he has only held a single formal solo press conference all year long, in fact. He's given two others that almost qualify, but he is either terrified of speaking to the press or his handlers know what a disaster it always turns out to be and keep him from doing them.

Just about any way you look at it, Donald Trump is miles beyond any other possible candidate for Worst Politician of the year.

 

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   Most Defining Political Moment

This was a tough one to choose, because we had several good candidates. The defeat of the Republican repeal-and-replace effort was perhaps the biggest turning point of the year, since Republicans wasted so much time and energy on it only to fall short in the end. The protesters who descended on the halls of Congress certainly were a definitional moment for how public opinion can halt bad legislation.

The firing of James Comey was also rather definitional for the Trump white House, or perhaps those cabinet meeting lovefests. Nothing defined the Trump era more than sycophants vying with each other to see who could praise the Dear Leader more, making Trump look like some tinpot dictator. Banana republics blushed with shame at Trump's demand for public ass-kissing, in fact. Even Kim Jong Un must have been impressed.

On a grimmer note, what happened in Charlottesville was also a stark defining moment. Not only the white supremacist rallies and the lack of police response, not only the death of a woman murdered by a car, but by the president's jaw-dropping response to it all.

What came to be called the Resistance was kicked off by the Women's March on Washington, one day after Trump took office, and either one could plausibly have been the Most Defining Political Moment of the year.

But instead, we have to give the award to the #MeToo movement. Never before has such a movement changed things so fast. From Bill O'Reilly's exit from Fox News to the precipitating takedown of Harvey Weinstein, to the Roy Moore campaign, women stood up and told their horrific stories and the country reacted. Many celebrities saw the effective end of their careers. Journalism was also hard-hit, especially notable in the firing of Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, both icons of morning broadcast news. Politicians from Al Franken on down also paid a heavy price (with the obvious exception of our "grab 'em by the pussy" president, so far at least). In fact, there were so many flameouts that we aren't even going to attempt to list them all, because we know we'd forget to mention so many of them.

Social movements can grind along for years at a glacial pace, but on occasion they leap forward and command center stage in American politics. That's what happened with sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual misconduct. From Anthony Weiner finally going to prison right up to Al Franken's last speech on the Senate floor, it was an extraordinary year for women being believed over the denials of their abusers. Which is why the Most Defining Political Moment was the entire #MeToo movement, hands down. Or, more properly, we suppose: "Hands OFF!"

 

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   Turncoat Of The Year

If Donald Trump were judging these awards, we are sure he'd pick Jeff Sessions for Turncoat Of The Year, for his recusal from the Russia investigation. Or perhaps Jeff Flake, who has spent the entire year ripping into Trump whenever he can.

Thankfully, though, Trump is not judging these awards.

Turncoat Of The Year goes to three senators -- the first two more than the third, really. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and (to a lesser extent, even though he hogged all the press for it) John McCain of Arizona easily win Turncoat Of The Year for voting against the repeal-and-replace Senate bill, which effectively killed the effort (at least for 2017). McCain did so in the most dramatic fashion, with his thumbs-down gesture on the Senate floor, but Murkowski and Collins were the two who consistently voted against every iteration of the bill and every process vote leading up to the final vote -- something McCain can't claim.

Turncoat Of The Year can be seen positively or negatively, depending always on your own political leanings. For Democrats, they were incredibly thankful to these three GOP senators for saving Obama's namesake legislation. Republicans, on the other hand, were incensed. The depth of feelings on both sides is why it's an easy call to award Collins, McCain, and Murkowski the Turncoat Of The Year this time around.

 

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   Most Boring

This category always kind of puts us to sleep....

But then, that's by design, right?

As always, Mitch McConnell is a strong contender for "less interesting than watching paint dry."

Rex Tillerson seems to be trying to win this category every time he opens his mouth, too.

But this year, we're going to hand out the award (possibly for the first time, we'd have to check) in a positive light. Because, from all reports, Doug Jones was an incredibly boring candidate.

The moral of the story (if the reports are true) is that sometimes boring wins. Sometimes boring is better than heart-palpitating excitement, when the excitement is of a negative type.

Jones very smartly did not allow the Democratic Party to co-opt his entire campaign (the way, it might be argued, that Jon Ossoff did). It wasn't until the final weekend that Jones even allowed big-name Democrats to come into Alabama to campaign for him. And even then he resisted the urge to invite Barack Obama to a rally. He wanted to keep things boring. As it turns out, he was right.

Alabama was simply not going to elect a flaming liberal. Wasn't going to happen. If Jones had been some fire-breathing progressive, he quite likely would have lost -- even to the accused child molester. Sometimes, being boring is the best thing possible. Not always, though, and not even always in the South. Jon Ossoff was actually criticized for losing his race in Georgia by being too boring. So sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

For Doug Jones, it worked like a charm. And for proving it, we hereby award him Most Boring of the year -- in the nicest way possible.

 

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   Most Charismatic

This is another category that we prefer to see in a neutral light. Many people define "charisma" in a purely positive sense, but to us it can be either positive or negative. Our classic example to prove this is Rodney Dangerfield's character in Caddyshack. Annoying as all get-out, but whenever he walked on screen he absolutely dominated the scene. You simply had to pay attention to him. That's charisma, although of the negative variety.

So while we could have had some fun with this category, deciding whether Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump or Melissa McCarthy's Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live was more charismatic, we're going to have to pass on such amusement.

Because, like him or not, Donald Trump is easily the Most Charismatic. Think about it -- Trump fires off a tweet, and the media world explodes. The obsession with the tiniest thing Trump says or does has all but consumed politics from the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his candidacy (and bash Mexicans).

Trump knows how to use this charisma to distract the entire political universe from whatever subject he doesn't want to see on his television screen. He knows one crazy tweet from him will deflect bad news, and his base supporters love him for it -- no matter how outrageous or offensive the tweet turns out to be. He has, to put it as simple as possible, entertainment value.

Or, to put it another way, charisma. He is the center of attention. He loves kicking the hornet's nest, because he knows he'll see his own face (or his own tweet) on screen for the next 48 hours, no matter what else is going on. So, like it or not, Donald Trump is easily the Most Charismatic character around.

 

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   Bummest Rap

We received many nominations for Al Franken in this category, but we're going to take a pass on him. Bob Mueller is getting a pretty bum rap right now from Republicans, who are not-so-subtly laying the groundwork for Trump to justify firing him, but we think Mueller can take care of his own reputation just fine.

Instead, the Bummest Rap of the year was Trump calling every single news story he did not personally like "fake news." The term has lost all meaning, both to him and to everyone else, other than "news stories that don't praise Donald J. Trump." Facts be damned, if Trump doesn't like it, it's fake news. Period.

Kellyanne Conway gets a special mention in this award category for her Orwellian take on this (while complaining that the networks weren't giving enough coverage to the entirely fictional "Bowling Green massacre"), when she insisted that Trump was using "alternative facts." So fake news is reporting news that isn't Trump's "alternative facts" (or, what might be called "fake reality")? Sorry, but our heads are spinning even contemplating the idea.

There used to be a real definition of "fake news." It was news stories entirely made up out of whole cloth and inserted into the national conversation for nefarious purposes. Russia, for instance, created lots of fake news during the 2016 election. Taking this label and slapping it on "anything a journalist says that Trump doesn't like" was the Bummest Rap of all. We don't have fake news, people, we have a fake president.

 

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   Fairest Rap

There was a lot to choose from here, this year. Harvey Weinstein. The whole #MeToo movement. The "Corker Kickback" which lined Bob Corker's pockets in exchange for his vote. Kansas being economically destroyed by trickle-down tax-cutting idiocy. The Trump Inauguration photo, showing a pathetically tiny crowd and acres and acres of empty ground. Roy Moore's accusers.

But the Fairest Rap of the year is quite simple: Trump lies. Trump lies all the time. Trump lies about stuff that is so easily debunked it's not even funny. Trump lies about himself, about what he's said in the past, about the political situation, about his family, about his agenda, about why he's firing people, about how the public perceives him, about his enemies (both personal and political), and probably about whether the sky is blue or not.

News organizations and fact-checkers have been hard-pressed to keep up. Depending on what criteria is used for what constitutes an actual lie, Trump has lied either hundreds and hundreds of times, or well over a thousand times since taking office. The Washington Post even has a tracking page for all of Trump's lies that showed he uttered over 1,600 lies in his first 300 days in office. That works out to over five a day, or really more when you consider how many days he spends on the golf course. We've never played golf with him, but we have to assume that he lies about his golf game as well.

Trump lies like a rug. He's been lying his face off all year long, beginning with his outrageously false claims about his Inauguration crowd and President Obama personally ordering Trump Tower wiretapped. He lied about the size of his victory, and he lied about "voter fraud" so much he had to create a presidential commission in an attempt to save face. He promises things constantly ("you'll hear about this very shortly") and then never follows through.

Trump is, in a word, pathological in his lying. He lies even when there is no reason to. He just claimed that he personally came up with the political label "tax cuts" and that Republicans hadn't been able to pass any since Reagan because they insisted on calling it "tax reform" instead. This is a whopper of epic proportions which is just simply not true on several levels, but by now it's just another day in the constant and unending stream of Trump falsehoods.

So choosing the Fairest Rap was pretty easy. Trump lies. Like a rug.

 

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   Best Comeback

For some reason, we included in our nominations list an amusing Washington Post headline: "State Department Writes Anti-Leak Memo Which Promptly Leaks." Now maybe that doesn't entirely fit the criteria for Best Comeback, but it certainly got a laugh out of us.

In politics, Obamacare made quite a comeback this year. From the brink of disaster it came back, and is more popular than it ever was even under Barack Obama. From the other side of the political aisle, you could make a case for trickle-down theory, which made a spectacular comeback in the year-end tax bill, even though it has been proven to be a fantasy pretty much every time it's been tried (see, most recently: Kansas).

An even better case could be made for the Woman's March on Washington -- one day after Trump's dismal Inauguration crowd, hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets in protest. That's an impressive comeback indeed. Or even, more broadly, the Resistance movement (or the Indivisible movement or the Anti-Trump movement -- call it what you will...), which is energizing the Democratic base no end these days.

But we have to look beyond the political world and instead turn to the world of sports. The Houston Astros won the World Series this year, roughly two months after the city of Houston was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The Astros went from having to play games at another city's field (because their city was underwater at the time) to winning their first World Series ever.

It was impossible not to feel solidarity with Houston, because the comeback was so emotional. Going from being literally underwater to being on top of the sports world in two months was the Best Comeback all year long, even though it had nothing to do with politics.

 

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   Most Original Thinker

We're also going to take a rather lighthearted approach to this one, just to warn everyone.

Arnold Schwarzenegger took over from Donald Trump on the NBC show The Apprentice. His ratings weren't as good as Trump's, but this merely continued a years-long slide in the ratings, really. But Trump had to needle Arnie about it (of course), which led to the funniest tweet we saw all year long. In early February, when Trump had been in office only a few weeks, Arnie won the Most Original Thinker for posting a video in response to Trump:

Hey Donald, I have a great idea. Why don't we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you're such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job -- and then people can finally sleep comfortably again.

If Trump had taken him up on this offer (and, for the time being, ignoring that whole "natural-born" constitutional criterion for the presidency), we all would indeed have slept a lot more comfortably all year long.

So, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, we award Most Original Thinker to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Because we'd easily rather see the Terminator in the Oval Office than the clown from It.

 

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   Most Stagnant Thinker

This one is a lot more serious, or at least it will be if he gets his way. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who always evokes Dopey the dwarf, in our eyes at least) is easily the Most Stagnant Thinker for wanting to ramp up the federal government's War On Weed once again.

Not unlike King Canute, Sessions wants to turn back the tide of growing acceptance and legalization that has been sweeping the country for the past decade or two. While public opinion polling regularly hits new highs (pun intended) for support for full recreational legalization (the last poll we saw had it at an astounding 64 percent approval, nationwide), Sessions wants us all to return to the Nancy Reagan "Just Say No!" days.

While intelligent politicians from both sides of the aisle are exploring ways to dismantle the legal framework around the War On Weed, Sessions wants instead to intensify the losing battle that has been waged for decades without any discernable impact. This is not just stagnant thinking, it's positively antediluvian, at this point. The genie is simply not going back in the bottle, but Sessions seems determined to make the attempt.

Thankfully, so far he hasn't been very successful. Congress has passed laws restricting the Justice Department from spending any money going after federal marijuana violations in states that have modernized their laws, which has effectively tied his hands. But we're on the brink of another budget battle, and this law has to be reauthorized every year. If Congress ever does slip the leash off Sessions, you can bet your bottom dollar he'll wage the War On Weed with all the ferocity he can bring to bear. Which is why he easily is our Most Stagnant Thinker of the year.

 

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   Best Photo Op

We could get really snarky and say the video of Melania Trump swatting Donald's hand away at a public event in Saudi Arabia wins Best Photo Op of the year.

Or we could get really, really snarky and give it to that Inauguration photo which proved the very first lie told from the White House briefing room podium of Trump's time in office.

But instead, we're not going to get snarky at all. Because the biggest and most spectacular photo op of the year was -- without question -- the total eclipse of the sun.

Hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of Americans made a special trip (sometimes, to the middle of nowhere) just to see this cosmic phenomenon. We've spoken to a few people who did make the effort, and they universally called it one of the most stunning moments of their lives.

Nothing else really came close. The Best Photo Op of the year was the one that so many people interrupted their lives to experience. The sun and the moon beat out every cheesy political staged event of the entire year, and did so (pun again intended) quite blindingly. Even the photo of Trump staring directly into it (while many screamed at him not to do so) didn't even come close.

 

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   Worst Photo Op

To be fair, we're going to hand out two awards in this category, because we're not sure (even by our own rules) if one of them technically qualifies. It all depends on how you define "photo op." But before we get to splitting hairs, let's take a look at the runners-up, because there were a lot of them this year.

Chris Christie, looking like a beached whale, had an early nomination for Worst Photo Op, as he lounged on a beach chair at a state beach that was closed down due to a government shutdown showdown he was in -- and then blatantly lied that he "hadn't gotten any sun." That was one bad photo, and Christie was roundly (pun intended) mocked for it online.

Speaking of beaches, all the hurricane devastation photos, from all three major hurricanes of the season (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) were pretty bad photo ops, broadly defined.

Which also brings to mind Donald Trump tossing paper towel rolls as if playing basketball to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico (while telling them they didn't need flashlights any more, unaware that the entire island was still quite literally in the dark each night).

Steven Mnuchin's wife set a new crass standard when she sent out a photo of herself and bragged about the high-priced labels she was wearing. Then, later in the year, Mnuchin and wife posed grinning like idiots holding a sheet of newly-printed dollar bills, in what was possibly the worst photo op of any Treasury Secretary of all time.

Each time Kim Jong Un decided to stick his thumb in Trump's eye with another ballistic missile launch, there were plenty of photos provided to the press. That was pretty bad, we have to admit.

But two photo ops stood out above (below?) the rest of the field. The first wasn't technically just a photo op, because a still photo wouldn't have caught the badness of the scene. You needed the audio to go along with it. This is why we're unsure if it really even technically qualifies. But Donald Trump holding a ceremony at the White House to honor Navajo Code Talkers from World War II -- and then making a disparaging "Pocahontas" reference -- was easily the most cringe-worthy scene Trump managed all year long. Seriously, dude, you're standing in front of Native Americans and you can't resist making that bad joke? Wow.

Whether that one qualifies or not, there was a lefty who went too far this year as well. Kathy Griffin posed (again, the video is even creepier than the still photo) silently and grimly lifting a (prop) bloody severed Donald Trump head, for some unfathomable reason. Even in the world of comedy, this went way too far. To be blunt, this is nothing short of jihadist imagery (or, if your prefer, Jacobin imagery), and it should be roundly condemned by all. So, along with Trump's Pocahontas photo op, we have to jointly award Worst Photo Op to Kathy Griffin, in the spirit of fairness.

 

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   Enough Already!

This is a catchall category, as always. So let's just let them fly....

Hurricanes and wildfires -- Enough already!

Mass shootings -- Enough already!

Men abusing their power to abuse women -- Enough already!

James Comey -- Enough already!

Confederate statues -- Enough already!

Jeff Sessions -- Enough already!

Hillary Clinton (and What Happened) -- Enough already!

Roy Moore -- Enough already!

Dianne Feinstein -- Enough already!

Fake news -- Enough already!

Trump cabinet members spending millions on private flights -- Enough already!

Donald Trump -- Enough already!

Donald Trump's lies -- Enough already!

Donald Trump's tweets -- Enough already!

 

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   Worst Lie

Let's see... how about a sweeping general statement: "The Republican Party cares about lowering the deficit and national debt." That's now a pretty big lie, after their vote on the tax bill proved otherwise.

Actually, with Donald Trump in the news, specific nominees for this category are almost endless. Here are just a few memorable bad lies from Trump this year:

Mexico will pay for the wall. Trump has a healthcare plan that will cover everyone, cut deductibles, and lower premiums -- for everyone! His Electoral College victory was the biggest ever. His Inaugural crowd was the biggest ever. Three million votes were fraudulent, therefore he won the popular vote. Barack Obama personally ordered a wiretap on Trump. Trump has "tapes" of what James Comey said in the Oval Office. He has gotten more done than any president, ever. He can be more presidential than any president -- except Abraham Lincoln. There was no collusion with Russia. The tax cut bill will actually raise Trump's taxes. Or how about: "I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off."

There are so many Trump lies that you'd have to actually consult a database of them to see them all (1,600 and counting...). The way to tell if Trump is lying? Is his mouth moving?

Sure, there were other big fat lies told in Washington this year. Jeff Sessions lied about having no contact with Russians -- under oath -- to Al Franken. John Kelly told a vicious lie (and then refused to apologize even after video footage proved him to be a liar) about a congresswoman from Florida, over all the lies Trump was telling about how he had contacted every Gold Star parent (he hadn't, of course, because he was lying).

But the sin of the Worst Lie this year was another one told to a Gold Star parent, which was uncovered in the fallout to Trump telling lies about another Gold Star mother (the one which also provoked the Kelly lie). Here is the whole sordid story:

President Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said.

Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, said that Trump called him at his home in Zebulon, N.C., a few weeks after his 22-year-old son and two fellow soldiers were gunned down by an Afghan police officer on June 10. Their phone conversation lasted about 15 minutes, Baldridge said, and centered for a time on the father's struggle with the manner in which his son was killed -- shot by someone he was training.

"I said, 'Me and my wife would rather our son died in trench warfare,'" Baldridge said. "I feel like he got murdered over there."

. . .

In his call with Trump, Baldridge, a construction worker, expressed frustration with the military's survivor benefits program. Because his ex-wife was listed as their son's beneficiary, she was expected to receive the Pentagon's $100,000 death gratuity -- even though "I can barely rub two nickels together," he told Trump.

The president's response shocked him.

"He said, 'I'm going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,' and I was just floored," Baldridge said. "I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, 'No other president has ever done something like this,' but he said, 'I'm going to do it.'"

This check never arrived, even after the guy got a Trump condolence letter:

"I opened it up and read it, and I was hoping to see a check in there, to be honest," the father said. "I know it was kind of far-fetched thinking. But I was like, 'Damn, no check.' Just a letter saying 'I'm sorry.'"

Mere hours after this story was reported by the Washington Post, the White House hastily cut a check for the $25,000 and sent it out. Note that key word: after.

Trump lied to a Gold Star father. He promised him a personal check. He never intended to make good on his promise, but the media eventually shamed him into doing so.

How can any Republican who has ever uttered the phrase "support our troops" defend such a man, or such a cruel lie?

Lying to a grieving father of a dead U.S. soldier over a large sum of money is one of the most despicable lies we have ever heard in the world of politics. If a Democratic president had done so, the impeachment hearings would have begun the next day. Although this lie had no effect on national policy or the Trump administration in general, we still have to award it Worst Lie of 2017. For shame, Mister Trump. For shame.

 

Trophy
   Capitalist Of The Year

The best suggestion, no doubt influenced by the recent tax giveaway, we got in this category was: "All of them."

Then there was "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli, who is now (thankfully) serving time behind bars.

Or the entire Trump family. "Emoluments clause? What emoluments clause?!?"

We almost gave the award to the Washington Post and the New York Times for engaging in an old-fashioned newspaper war -- over who could expose more scandals from the Trump White House. They scooped each other time and time again, only to be outscooped in return. This was heartening for anyone who cares about the future of journalism, to put it mildly.

But in the end, we had to give the Capitalist Of The Year to Tom Steyer. Steyer made a pile of money as a hedge fund manager, and has ever since been considering entering politics directly (he's still thinking about possibly challenging Dianne Feinstein for her Senate seat in next year's primaries, in fact).

This year, to build his own name recognition (no doubt), Steyer put his money where his mouth was. Or, more accurately, he used his money to get his mouth on television screens across the country. His message was simple: "We must impeach Donald Trump, period." He spent millions of dollars of his own money to bring this message to America, which is more than most liberal multimillionaires or billionaires can say.

We have no idea what his future will be in Democratic politics, but he certainly showed how one man can -- if he's got the money to burn -- speak directly to the public even if Democrats in Washington want to sweep the subject under the rug. For putting up his own millions to beg Congress to impeach President Trump, Tom Steyer is our Capitalist Of The Year.

 

Trophy
   Honorable Mention

Remember "covfefe"? Heh.

Funniest headline we saw all year: "Miami Lawyer's Pants Erupt In Flames During Arsonist Trial In Court." Hoo boy, the "pants on fire" jokes just write themselves!

Jeff Merkley launched the eighth-longest filibuster in Senate history, during the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, which deserves at least an Honorable Mention.

Republican incompetence has certainly saved us all from a wide range of idiocy -- I mean, just imagine where we'd be if they really had their act together, at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue!

Barack Obama retweeted Nelson Mandela in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy, and even though Donald Trump is without doubt the Tweeter-In-Chief, Obama's tweet quickly became the most popular tweet of all time.

Jimmy Kimmel -- not normally all that political of a late-night comic -- deserves an Honorable Mention for his efforts to defeat the repeal-and-replace nonsense in Congress. He's now even given birth to a political term, because healthcare legislation now has to pass "the Jimmy Kimmel test."

Protestantism turned 500 years old this year, with the anniversary of Martin Luther's theses.

But our favorite this year came from the Russian embassy, on April Fool's Day. They posted this "transcript" of their in-house answering machine's message, just for laughs:

You have reached the Russian Embassy. Your call is very important to us. To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponents, press 1. To use the services of Russian hackers, press 2. To request election interference, press 3 and wait until the next election campaign. Please note that all calls are recorded for quality improvement and training purposes.

Who knew the Rooskies could be so funny?

 

Trophy
   Person Of The Year

We got only four nominees for this category, and three of them were foreign leaders. Shows how diminished America has become, after less than a year of President Trump, we suppose.

Xi Jinping of China has very quietly been stepping in to all the places where America has abandoned its world leadership, and he's done so in a way that few here have even noticed.

Kim Jong Un certainly has been playing Trump like a fiddle all year long, because he knows that there is no viable military solution for the U.S. that doesn't involve the deaths of millions in South Korea (at a bare minimum).

Vladimir Putin has also played Trump like his own personal fiddle, but then that's no real surprise given what we now know about the Trump campaign.

But what we now know about the Trump campaign (and what we're doubtlessly going to find out next year, as well) is due to the efforts of one man: Special Counsel Bob Mueller. Mueller has been ignoring Donald Trump's tirades, he has been ignoring the media, he has been ignoring the slings and arrows launched at him from Republicans, he has been ignoring pretty much everything in Washington except the task he has set about to accomplish -- a thorough and complete investigation of President Trump.

The Mueller cloud has been hanging over the White House all year long. It is inescapable. The more Trump convinces himself he's been exonerated (or is about to be), the more delusional he gets about the Russia probe. Mueller's office doesn't leak much (if at all), which has meant every time they make a public move (like indictments or guilty plea deals), it comes as a total surprise to everyone.

Trump is reportedly being told by his legal team that Mueller is going to wrap up his investigation in the next month or so. This is delusional. They told Trump that Mueller would be done by the summer, and then by Thanksgiving, and then by the end of the year. All of that was delusional as well. Mueller is not going to stop until he gets to the absolute bottom. Meaning the cloud is only going to get darker and bigger over the White House for the foreseeable future.

So while he has shunned the public spotlight all year long and refuses to feed the media beast by selectively leaking, Bob Mueller has turned out to be the most influential person in Washington all year long. For that, we award him Person Of The Year.

 

[See you next Friday, for the conclusion of our 2016 awards!]

 

If you're interested in traveling down Memory Lane, here are all the previous years of this awards column:

2016 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2015 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2014 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2013 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2012 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2011 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2010 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2009 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2008 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2007 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2006 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

108 Comments on “My 2017 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    With the charisma that Trump has, he's more than likely to win a second term.

    As for the runner up in the biggest winner category, Obamacare ... it may be a tad premature as it is apparent to anyone who understands how healthcare insurance works that the Affordable Care Act is now on track for a slow death.

    Speaking of which, it's going to be a rough holiday, especially without email. That being said, I would still like to contribute to the Holiday Fund Drive and want to be sure that I can use the same snail mail address as before ...

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If Trump fires Mueller, will that be the end of the Trump administration?

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just about any way you look at it, Donald Trump is miles beyond any other possible candidate for Worst Politician of the year.

    Yep.. Yep.. Yep... :D

    Because, like him or not, Donald Trump is easily the Most Charismatic. Think about it -- Trump fires off a tweet, and the media world explodes. The obsession with the tiniest thing Trump says or does has all but consumed politics from the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his candidacy (and bash Mexicans).

    And bash illegal immigrants...

    Fixed it for you... Yer welcome... :D

    So choosing the Fairest Rap was pretty easy. Trump lies. Like a rug.

    As did Obama... A point of fact you have made clear on more than one occasion.. :D

    We almost gave the award to the Washington Post and the New York Times for engaging in an old-fashioned newspaper war -- over who could expose more scandals from the Trump White House. They scooped each other time and time again, only to be outscooped in return. This was heartening for anyone who cares about the future of journalism, to put it mildly.

    And the fact that most were either fake news or totally lame (Trump had two scoops of ice cream!!!) makes no difference?? :D

    So while he has shunned the public spotlight all year long and refuses to feed the media beast by selectively leaking,

    Which is out and out BS because there are nearly daily leaks about Mueller's Anti-Trump team...

    Other than the minor nitpicks, great awards.. :D

    Now, I owe, I owe so off to work I go.. :D

    605

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That should read more like if Trump tries to have Mueller fired would that spell the end of Trump's run as president?

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Or, will that just make him more charismatic?

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    We need more James Comey.

  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM -

    When you first asked, I sent you an email. But it seems you're having problems in that regard too, so here goes:

    I haven't moved, so the same snail mail address will work. I love donations on paper just as much as I do through electrons!

    :-)

    Anyone else wishing to use checks or money orders, please also let me know and I'll send you an email with my snail mail address...

    -CW

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm told by a reliable source that Tom Steyer is a good man.

    When will the time be right for impeachment?

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks, Chris ... my problem with email will be solved in the New Year ... too exhausted by everything else to take care of it until then.

  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM [1] -

    Yeah, I worry about that. As I also worry about Trump's legacy. I saw what happened to Ronald Reagan (for anyone interested, please read Tear Down This Myth! for details...) and the construction of an alternate reality legacy, but Trump's doing it in real time, so I can only imagine what will emerge after he's gone. In three years or seven....

    Obamacare is fixable, but you're right, time is running out. Elect a Democratic House and Senate next year, and it may be saved. That's how I see it, at any rate...

    LizM [2] -

    Short answer: yes.

    :-)

    Michale [3] -

    OK, I was following along until your last cite. There haven't actually been leaks from Mueller, there have been rumors. Big difference, even if it seems like splitting hairs. Compare Mueller to Ken Starr - not even close.

    Glad to see you liked the Trump awards... I do try to be even-handed...

    LizM [4] -

    Short answer: yep.

    LizM [5] -

    Short answer: nope.

    Heh. This is fun!

    LizM [6] -

    Nah, we need more Bob Mueller. But I'm betting we'll get that, next year. He seems a shoo-in for the same award, in 12 months' time...

    Heh.

    -CW

  11. [11] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM [8] -

    My guess is it'll be the XXVth. The process is so much quicker, and we may require that speed...

    :-)

    I'm VERY interested to see if Steyer takes on DiFi, personally...

    As for email, the one I sent essentially just said "I'm still here!" so no real loss. Hope you get connected again soon, I know what it's like to be cut off like that -- it sucks!

    -CW

  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM -

    One last thought: if you email me (from some throwaway free email account at a library or friend's computer or something) and let me know the amount, I can include it in the thermometer! Just a thought... put the keyword "LizM" in the subject line, and I'll see it....

    :-)

    -CW

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Bob Mueller and James Comey are cut from the same cloth and we need more of both of them!

    Whenever you begin to think the worst of Comey, just remember two words: Bill Clinton. The former president is at the root of what Comey had to do.

  14. [14] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    And to everyone else -

    We're SO close to our goal, so we're hoping that Santa leaves some final year-end donations under our tree this year to push us over the goal line!

    :-)

    -CW

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    100USD

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There, that was easier. Heh.

  17. [17] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM -

    Refresh your browser. New thermometer will appear! And thanks!

    Also: Shoot me an email if you get a new email address working, and I'll send you a personal thank-you note, I promise.

    :-)

    Getting ever closer to this year's goal... hope to hear reindeer hoofs on the roof this weekend...

    Heh.

    -CW

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    . There haven't actually been leaks from Mueller, there have been rumors.

    No, there has been leaks.. While they may or may not be attributed directly to Mueller (Comey was a leaker, why not Mueller) there are definitely leaks coming from Mueller's team...

    606

  19. [19] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [18] -

    Name them. If any, they're pretty much few and far between, and of a very low level. Otherwise, all I see is a whole lot of rampant speculation...

    -CW

  20. [20] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    PS.

    This didn't fit into any other category, but this was the column I got the most amusement out of re-reading in the annual review. Still makes me chuckle:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/04/06/taser-unswiftly-changes-name/

    :-)

    Enjoy, if you missed it when it originally ran!

    -CW

  21. [21] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [3] -

    As did Obama... A point of fact you have made clear on more than one occasion.. :D

    I also challenge you to provide even 100 lies from Obama's first year in office. I'll even make it easier for you -- tell me even 10 or 20 provable lies Obama told, during his first year. I dare you.

    You can't even come up with 10 Obama lies, while reputable news organizations have chronicled over 1600 from your Dear Leader. False equivalency, much?

    Heh.

    -CW

    PS. And please, enlighten us all what exactly you would have said if Obama had promised a Gold Star father $25K and then stiffed him until the media noticed, because I'm REAL interested in your answer to that. And your silence, earlier this year, on how Trump did the same. So much for "supporting the troops," eh?

    Sheesh.

    -CW

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    I also challenge you to provide even 100 lies from Obama's first year in office. I'll even make it easier for you -- tell me even 10 or 20 provable lies Obama told, during his first year. I dare you.

    You can't even come up with 10 Obama lies, while reputable news organizations have chronicled over 1600 from your Dear Leader. False equivalency, much?

    Sure, if you want to reduce it to a mere numbers game..

    Basically you are saying that Democrats are better because they lie less...

    Not quite the ringing endorsement you think it is.. :D

    607

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Robert Mueller’s leak problem
    https://nypost.com/2017/11/06/robert-muellers-leak-problem/

    There are many additional example...

    608

  24. [24] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    To all commenters that complain about my persistence in trying to get CW to address One Demand please note that it was NOT included in the "Enough Already" category.

    However, CW not addressing One Demand should have been.

  25. [25] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Giving Bernie the Best Politician award is appropriate.

    But "Whatever he is doing, he is doing it right."

    Really?

    Introducing a single payer bill and whipping up his supporters to dream big is all you have on Bernie?

    Really?

    I guess you haven't heard of Our Revolution and Bernie's efforts to work on getting his supporters in positions of power in the Democratic Party. That must be why those efforts were rarely, if ever, mentioned in your 2017 articles.

    How did you miss what the Best Politician was doing?

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:
  27. [27] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale (26)-
    That's what would seem to be common sense.

    It would also seem to be common sense that someone that said things could happen BEFORE they happened that at the time everyone said was impossible would be someone worth listening to when the impossible things actually happened.

    Like how I said that small contribution campaigns could be competitive before Bernie even declared he was running, even as far back as when Ralph Nader was running.

    Like how I said that taking on the establishment candidates in the primaries could be effective before the Tea Party even existed.

    Like how I said that people working together using the internet before the Women's March and other internet driven efforts moved the public discourse and accomplished things in ways and time frames previously thought impossible by others.

    Yet, CW still referred to One Demand, which combines these approaches as fantasy.

    Reminder to CW: Still waiting for the conversation to continue from the comments on "GOP's Swamp Creature of a Tax Bill" which includes the points made in this comment.

  28. [28] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    And the "Enough Already" category should have included:

    Candidates of any or no party taking Big Money contributions- ENOUGH ALREADY!

  29. [29] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Elizabeth M. [1] I am always surprised to read people assume that Trump is on his way to re-election. It's not like he's a normal president in the American political tradition of 2-termers. Yes, he has charisma as Chris W. defined it: but his charisma is negative and distractive, rather than positive and attractive. He'll be 74 in 2020, asking to be president until he's 79. He looks to be in poor physical health, and his mental health looks even dicier. And that doesn't even include the risks of political downfall in the coming three years that would end his first term prematurely: impeachment, 25th amendment removal, face-saving resignation due to above threats or even blackmail, nuclear war, etc.

  30. [30] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: So choosing the Fairest Rap was pretty easy. Trump lies. Like a rug.

    Michale: As did Obama... A point of fact you have made clear on more than one occasion.. :D

    Yes, yes, and yes! Trump lies through his false teeth as "fake news" spews through fake tan man's blowhole like verbal golden showers... fake hair, fake face, fake painted orange clown and real con. *LOL*

    So Obama and Trump have both lied, and apples and oranges are alike because they grow on trees and have seeds. /sarcasm off

    The false equivalency from the Trump sycophants in order to justify the pathological lying Don of the Trump crime family is a "thing" to behold. Why, oh why, do they decry liars and hypocrites yet worship at the alter of the cult of personality of the phoniest blowhard, con artist, and self-dealer on the planet? Trump will... no doubt in my mind whatsoever... be the future recipient of one of CW's "Turncoat" awards for what he's done in his unquenchable quest for praise and wealth. Benedict Donald.

    Trump needs the gullible to believe it's all "fake news" because he knows the story ain't good, the goalposts are heavy and can only be moved so far, and winter is here along with indictments and more coming. Who knew money laundering, RICO, and the obstruction/cover-up could be so complicated? :)

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Why, oh why, do they decry liars and hypocrites yet worship at the alter of the cult of personality of the phoniest blowhard, con artist, and self-dealer on the planet?

    You mean, like ya'all did with Odumbo???

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    John,

    I guess the sarcasm was lost on you ...

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, no, Trump does not have charisma.

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Frankly, I'm still betting that he won't last the year. :)

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Victoria,

    You lost.

    Trump is President...

    Hillary will NEVER be President..

    Grow up and get over it....

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Elizabeth M. [1] I am always surprised to read people assume that Trump is on his way to re-election. It's not like he's a normal president in the American political tradition of 2-termers. Yes, he has charisma as Chris W. defined it: but his charisma is negative and distractive, rather than positive and attractive. He'll be 74 in 2020, asking to be president until he's 79. He looks to be in poor physical health, and his mental health looks even dicier. And that doesn't even include the risks of political downfall in the coming three years that would end his first term prematurely: impeachment, 25th amendment removal, face-saving resignation due to above threats or even blackmail, nuclear war, etc.

    BBBWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I shouldn't laugh...

    It's sad because you actually BELIEVE that crap yer spewing....

  37. [37] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    CW - looks like I'm gonna need your snailmail address as well. No idea what I can afford yet.

    Michale [35]: Here's one for you:

    Hillary Clinton - Enough already! Hillary is now just another writer of historical tomes - at best, a star of CSPAN2's "Book TV". There is no chance of her returning to politics in our lifetimes. Continuing to clasp her to your chest like a child's blanket only reflects badly on you. Let it go. Grow up!

  38. [38] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Basically you are saying that Democrats are better because they lie less...

    Yep. Alot less. Waaaaay less. Moving on...

  39. [39] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    John M: (Trump will) be 74 in 2020, asking to be president until he's 79. He looks to be in poor physical health, and his mental health looks even dicier.

    ..and he won't be able to dummy up fake medical reports the next time, now that Walter Reed's medical staff has taken over his health care.

  40. [40] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Balthasar-
    Is that lying less than Trump or less than Republicans?

    If it's Trump- who doesn't lie less?

    If it's Republicans, then a lot less or waaaaay less is a bit of a stretch.

    The Democrats just tell different lies. Republicans pretend that trickle down economics will help ordinary citizens while Democrats pretend to be against trickle down economics.

    Different lies, SIMILAR results.

  41. [41] 
    neilm wrote:

    Destined For Political Stardom: Gavin Newsome and Pete Buttigieg
    Destined For Political Oblivion: Paul Ryan
    Best Political Theater: The rise and fall of Anthony Scaramucci
    Worst Political Theater: Pence's toadying
    Worst Political Scandal: Firing Comey
    Most Underreported Story: Tax Bill implications
    Most Overreported Story: That there is any point listening to whiny Trump supporters because they have some real insight.
    Biggest Government Waste: Ridiculous charges for Secret Service coverage for golf carts, etc. from Trump properties
    Best Government Dollar Spent: Bob Mueller Investigation
    Boldest Political Tactic: Zero tolerance for sexual abuse from Democrats
    Best Idea: Hiring Robert Muller
    Worst Idea: Firing Comey
    Sorry To See You Go: Al Franken
    15 Minutes Of Fame: Anthony Scaramucci
    Best Spin: Real news organizations are "Fake News"
    Most Honest Person: Robert Mueller
    Most Overrated: Paul Ryan (this man is a complete doofus)
    Most Underrated: Pete Buttigieg

  42. [42] 
    neilm wrote:

    "Remember America First. America. First." - A complete idiot, January, 2017.

    According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, which tracks shipments, steel imports were 19.4 percent higher in the first 10 months of 2017 than in the same period last year. That surge of imports has hurt American steel makers, which were already struggling against a glut of cheap Chinese steel.

    What a clown show.

  43. [43] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Elizabeth M. [32-34] My apologies. As I said, I have seen enough political writing about the president's likelihood of trying for, or winning, a second term that I lumped your comment in with them.
    On your [33], I instinctively would agree with you, but Chris W. was, I thought, pretty clear in explaining his use of 'charisma' to characterize Trump's political persona. It was, as I said, a negative form of what we usually assume can only be a positive trait!

    Michale [36], please try not to make personal remarks.

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There's never a need for you to apologize, John.

    As for the meaning of charisma and who is charismatic, I would never attach such terms to Trump. Mostly because I find him to be a revolting character and completely unsuited, if not unfit, to be an American president.

    I don't see that there is any good reason to portray him as anything but who he really is.

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale [36], please try not to make personal remarks.

    Yeah, Michale! I'll second that. :)

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    About that Turncoat of the Year award ...

    Didn't the same three senators vote for the tax cut/reform bill that eliminates what essentially underpins the Affordable Care Act?

    Turncoats, indeed!

  47. [47] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    31

    You mean, like ya'all did with Odumbo???

    So basically you're going to remain ever clinging to your standard deflection coupled with your requisite whataboutism and phone in the cut-able and paste-able argument that you are no different than those on this comment board that you routinely troll and deride with the same tired schtick and repetitive commentary that infers and implies that they are the dumbest people on the planet because they disagree with your political conspiracy theory BS spewed daily from the depths of depravity located within the right-wing bubble floating along blissfully unaware somewhere in the outer reaches of the alternate reality?

    Well, okay then, we accept your admission that you resemble the comment at [30]. Nice bit of introspection and self-awareness on your part. :)

  48. [48] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    The Democrats just tell different lies. Republicans pretend that trickle down economics will help ordinary citizens while Democrats pretend to be against trickle down economics.

    And the lie that you support is that there is no difference between the two. Your doctrine would claim to be against big money, yet when every Democrat in the House and Senate stand and vote against the big money corporate tax cuts, you stand mute, and give no credit, where credit is certainly due.

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale [36], please try not to make personal remarks.

    Fair enough...

    And, in return, please try to refrain from wishcasting and stay within the realm of reality..

    Deal??? :D

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    So basically you're going to remain ever clinging to your standard deflection coupled with your requisite whataboutism and phone in the cut-able and paste-able argument that you are no different than those on this comment board that you routinely troll and deride with the same tired schtick and repetitive commentary that infers and implies that they are the dumbest people on the planet because they disagree with your political conspiracy theory BS spewed daily from the depths of depravity located within the right-wing bubble floating along blissfully unaware somewhere in the outer reaches of the alternate reality?

    So basically you're going to remain ever clinging to your standard deflection coupled with your requisite whataboutism and phone in the cut-able and paste-able argument that you are no different than those on this comment board that you routinely troll and deride with the same tired schtick and repetitive commentary that infers and implies that they are the dumbest people on the planet because they disagree with your political conspiracy theory BS spewed daily from the depths of depravity located within the right-wing bubble floating along blissfully unaware somewhere in the outer reaches of the alternate reality?

    OK, I accept your concession that yer a flaming hypocrite.. :D

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Neil,

    Most Honest Person: Robert Mueller

    I'll remind you of that when Mueller completely exonerates President Trump... :D

    Ya'all will turn on Mueller so fast.... :D

    I mean, look at Comey.. Ya'all hated him, then loved him, then hated him, then loved him... All within the span of a few weeks...

    Ya'all (NEN) are completely consistent in yer hypocrisy... :D

  52. [52] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    I'll remind you of that when Mueller completely exonerates President Trump..

    I'll remind you that you once said that, because Mueller is a Republican, that he would turn on the Democrats, particularly Hillary. That sure happened.

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'll remind you that you once said that, because Mueller is a Republican, that he would turn on the Democrats, particularly Hillary. That sure happened.

    Already hedging yer bets, eh Balthy?? :D

    But I don't recall Mueller "turning" on Hillary...

    Michale [35]: Here's one for you:

    Hillary Clinton - Enough already! Hillary is now just another writer of historical tomes - at best, a star of CSPAN2's "Book TV". There is no chance of her returning to politics in our lifetimes. Continuing to clasp her to your chest like a child's blanket only reflects badly on you. Let it go. Grow up!

    Thank you for that.. Best XMAS present ever! :D

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Michale [36], please try not to make personal remarks.

    Yeah, Michale! I'll second that. :)

    Oh pullleeezzee....

    A commenter on here once threatened to expose my personal information unless I changed my commenting habits and style... And she reminded me of her threats as recently as the last commentary...

    Where was your desire to "not have personal remarks" then???

    Like I told you, the way things are here is totally and unequivocally of ya'all's making....

    Ya'all established the rules and then you complain to me when I play by them...

    618

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    There is no chance of her returning to politics in our lifetimes.

    I bet it won't be for lack of trying...

    But ya gotta hand it to Hillary... There is a reason why she has laid low the last couple months.. :D

    619

  56. [56] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Balthasar (48)-
    see comment 37 on "GOPs Swamp Creature of a Tax Bill".

    Both of your invalid points are addressed in that comment.

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Lighten up, Michale. Life is too short.

  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    there is nothing wrong with personal remarks, by the way. We're all persons, after all. :)

  59. [59] 
    neilm wrote:

    I mean, look at Comey.. Ya'all hated him, then loved him, then hated him, then loved him... All within the span of a few weeks...

    Replace Mueller with Comey and look in a mirror, and your statement becomes accurate.

    You're welcome.

    Actually, having Mueller appointed is the BEST thing that could have happened to President Trump...

    Michale [ Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 01:30 PDT ]

    Mueller, a loyal Republican, will be able to re-open the NOT-45 Email scandal, find out why Obama ordered surveillance on Trump and his campaign and why Susan Rice ordered the unmasking of Americans in fragrant violation of the law... :D

    o, here we have a LOYAL and DEVOTED Republican with a blank check and carte blanche to go ANYWHERE and investigate ANYONE...

    I can picture Director Mueller's first meeting with President Trump..

    "Don't worry, Mr President.. Yer in the clear. Now, with this blank check I have, let's see what we can dig up on the Democrats, shall we?!?"

    Michale [ Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 01:53 PDT ]

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/05/18/scandalpalooza/#comment-100271

    How's that working out for you?

  60. [60] 
    neilm wrote:

    Mueller's the one who'll ultimately call balls and strikes.

    And will you shut up til Mueller releases his report??

    sheeyaa right....

    Michale [ Thursday, May 25th, 2017 at 16:17 PDT ]

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/05/23/newspaper-war/#comment-101035

    Any chance you'll take you own advice and stop trying to undermine Mueller?

  61. [61] 
    neilm wrote:

    Looks like ya'all have really shot yerselves in the foot by insisting on a Special Prosecutor..

    Neil, remember how you were looking forward to Comey's testimony last Monday??

    Michale [ Friday, May 26th, 2017 at 01:31 PDT ]

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/05/23/newspaper-war/#comment-101076

    Now I'm patiently looking forward to Mueller's testimony - I anticipate it will be even better :)

  62. [62] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Don Harris:

    Enough with your increasingly frantic arm waving! You are getting attention, but it is not good attention.

    If you want to start a dialog about OneDemand, with CW, or anybody else, you need to go to back to square one and write a nonprofit business plan addressing the following elements in detail:

    Organizational Structure

    Products, Programs or Services

    Marketing Plan

    Operational Plan

    Management and Organizational Team

    Capitalization

    Financial Plan

    Here is a helpful website, there are many others.

    https://www.thebalance.com/why-do-i-need-a-business-plan-for-nonprofit-2502272

    Do this before you get you get your website up and running again...so that your website has teeth, not just flapping gums.

  63. [63] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That sounds like good advice, TS, but, you may need some work on your tone. :)

  64. [64] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Stig-
    Thank you for the link. That was a positive suggestion.

    While you may disagree, I think once the website is up again I will meet much of the criteria outlined in the link. One obvious exception is updating the information for 2018 which will be coming in January-Febuary.

    Not all of those things can be accomplished on my own with limited resources which is why I have to make choices about what can be done until someone like CW writes about it so more people can get involved and/or someone like Ralph Nader decides to help.

    And some of the advice, like attracting Major Donors is antithetical to the mission and goals of One Demand.

  65. [65] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Don,

    Major donors doesn't necessarily mean donors with lots of money to donate. It could and should mean people who have major credibility to lend to your cause.

  66. [66] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Liz-63 ;) My mom said that.

    DH-64

    "until someone like CW writes about it so more people can get involved and/or someone like Ralph Nader decides to help."

    In the world of grantsmanship, NOBODY owes you ANYTHING. Your job is to persuade a skeptical audience to lend or give you money and/or professional credibility. Do not use business plan software, it makes you look like you don't know what you are doing.

    Your website is down, but as my memory serves, you simultaneously demeaned your own credentials and experience while asking for other peoples' money and endorsements. Why would you expect this sales pitch to work? Charity?

    Every successful first business plan I have ever seen took about a year of very hard work to write. Business plan first, web site to promote it later.

  67. [67] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You should follow your mom's advice.

  68. [68] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    54

    Oh pullleeezzee....

    A commenter on here once threatened to expose my personal information unless I changed my commenting habits and style... And she reminded me of her threats as recently as the last commentary...

    Oh, boo hoo. You are such a poor little victim.

    So here's what happened. I said that if you continued to post lies about me that I would post the truth about you. You post a lie about me; I'll post the truth about you. It's not a difficult concept.

    You lie a lot on these boards about people. That's the truth. You just make up whatever BS you want and lump everyone into the category of "ya'all" and let if fly. So I gave you fair warning that if you're going to keep posting lies about me, I'm going to post the truth about you. You were kind enough to supply your personal information contained in links along with your wife's name and where you lived long, long ago on this blog.

    Aaannnnnnnd since you're always whining about needing proof... here you go:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2015/01/07/what-to-expect-from-the-114th-congress/#comment-55910

    I am limited to one link per comment box. Should I continue posting the plethora of links to your personal information which you supplied on this blog? Please let me know. In the meantime, please continue to whine about somebody exposing your personal information when you are the one who did that to yourself. :)

  69. [69] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    All of the mean-spirited comments around here is really not doing anything good for this excellent blog.

    What do you say we all - those of us who are capable, that is - try harder to shed light as opposed to just more heat on the issues we are here to discuss ...

    You know, disagree without being disagreeable, as they so often say but rarely do.

  70. [70] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Don-

    In a previous thread you accused me of "criticize or deride rather than debate or converse" in relation to your idea. The reality is I and a few others have tried to debate and converse with you only to encounter a stubbornness so deep that I have encountered mules vastly more amenable than you. Look, you have come to a forum that most of the participants should be sympathetic to your ideas and have turned just about everyone, evidently including CW, against you. Does this not sink in to your thick skull? When your only ally is Michale, that should be a giant glowing sign you are going about things horribly wrong. And lets face it, Michale could give two shits about your idea. He is only your ally because the rest of us are arguing with you and he thrives on chaos and discord.

    Personally I have come to the conclusion that big money in politics is a distant second to the real reason for the existence of One Demand. You want Don Harris's Magic Idea to save the world. Cue: angelic music. This is all about ego. It has to be your idea and only your idea completely untainted by anyone else's suggestions. You are truly the reincarnation of Don Quixote...

    Now what I would love to see is someone else take the bare bones of your idea, add in many of the suggestions we have all made and create an organization that might actually address the problem. In the discussions about One Demand and it's predecessor there is the outline of a dam good political site that I think could be both popular and effect real change. But it's become pretty evident that it's not going to be you.

  71. [71] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hasn't anyone around here heard the old adage that if you haven't got anything good to say then don't say anything at all?

    Or, what about just ignoring things you detest and save your writing energy for comments that move the ball forward?

    And, whatever happened to just having a little good-hearted and good-natured fun as we debate the issues.

    Surely we don't think it's fun to trade insults and engage in other games of one-ups-manship at the expense of an enjoyable conversation about the things Chris writes about that matter and that deserve a robust discussion among people of good will and thoughtful disposition ...

  72. [72] 
    Kick wrote:

    Balthasar
    37

    Michale [35]: Here's one for you:

    Hillary Clinton - Enough already! Hillary is now just another writer of historical tomes - at best, a star of CSPAN2's "Book TV". There is no chance of her returning to politics in our lifetimes. Continuing to clasp her to your chest like a child's blanket only reflects badly on you. Let it go. Grow up!

    I like your response to Michale there Balthy because you are unequivocally correct about his clasping of Hillary to his chest, just like a widdle baby. In that regard, Michale is like Donald Trump and Linus van Pelt... widdle toddlers clinging to their blankies and sucking the thumbs on their teeny tiny little baby hands, said widdle thumbs likely representing a reasonable facsimile of what they'd rather be sucking... you know, what Scaramucci said about Steve Bannon. :)

    I think it's funny, though, to watch Michale reinforce near daily the fact that he's totally invested in the Trump Con and spewing back the pathological lies of his Orange Worship. Trump tells the sycophants that the Russia story is made up because Hillary lost the election and people can't get over it, and they eat it up like it's candy and gleefully spew back the BS as if it's gospel because they actually believe the Con's fabrication/propaganda and are drunk on the Kool-Aid of the cult of personality and worshiping at the alter. Pay no attention to the FACT that the IC worldwide with the help of our global allies had been investigating the Trump campaign long before the election.

    Now I ask you: What kind of LEO with two brain cells to rub together could look at the preponderance of the widely known evidence of the facts in this case yet still buy into, fully vest, and spew back daily the Trump propaganda?

    So let them all ever cling to their blankies and suck on their "reasonable facsimile" thumbs. The more Michale posts about November 2016 and parrots Clownfish Von Trump and his utter nonsensical fabricated tripe, he won't then be able to pretend like he doesn't care about what happens to Poor Donald and/or that he's not fully invested in the outcome of the Mueller investigation. :)

  73. [73] 
    Kick wrote:

    EM
    71

    Hasn't anyone around here heard the old adage that if you haven't got anything good to say then don't say anything at all?

    I hear you... I really do, but have you maybe considered that this is and has always been a blog based on reality wherein the commenters take their cues from the author? CW doesn't endeavor to put lipstick on the pigs that are our President of the United States, Senators, Representatives, and et alia, etc., regardless of their party affiliation or lack thereof. CW just tells it like it is and includes the dirty details/speech/quotes and doesn't try to sugarcoat it, and reality can be... and lately certainly has been... such a witch.

    I love this blog because it is [borrowing the most excellent language of its author] dedicated to "reality-based politics," not Utopia or some fantasyland where unicorns fart rainbows and the pixies frolic in the meadow.

    I sure shirt hope it never changes. :)

  74. [74] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    Chris certainly provides reality-based political commentary and he does indeed call it as he sees it. That won't change, no matter how far into the gutter the comments sections get.

    I wish more commenters would follow Chris's example and understand that a reality-based blog doesn't mean that comments need to scrape the bottom with vulgarity and otherwise juvenile discourse. I'm sure that's not the reality Chris has in mind.

  75. [75] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Hasn't anyone around here heard the old adage that if you haven't got anything good to say then don't say anything at all?

    Or run for office, someone added later.

    Remember, Liz, how unique this little forum is, how having even this much variety of political opinion in a forum in which metaphorical knives are not drawn daily is rarer than catching sight of a Trump cracking a book.

    With all of these different points of view about, some sharp elbows are almost inevitable. I consider it fortunate that we've been generally able to keep it all more or less civil.

    I think what you're really saying is, "You don't have to yell, I'm sitting right here next to you."

    "And don't be vulgar. I hate that."

  76. [76] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'd just like to see more light than heat, that's all.

    It can get very dark and hot in here, you know. :)

  77. [77] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    74

    You've always had a penchant for correcting Mopshell, Paula, and me for our comments, and as the three of us have all pointed out at multiple and various assorted occasions in our posts, it's not exactly something you do regularly with the male commenters. This naturally leads anyone with two brain cells to rub together to believe that you're less concerned with the "vulgarity" and "juvenile discourse" and more concerned with playing mother to the other females.

    Then too, maybe Mopshell was correct in her assessment regarding this penchant of yours because she certainly didn't mince words when she let it be known a time or two that you seem to want to clear the board of all the other females. Also too, you're not exactly known for practicing that which you preach to the other womenfolk.

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/03/06/comey-needs-to-clear-the-air/#comment-96012

    So there's that. :)

  78. [78] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Nice link ... for a conspiracy theorist, that is. Heh.

  79. [79] 
    Kick wrote:

    Neil

    Not going to lie, I thoroughly enjoyed all those walks down memory lane of yours where you post the links containing Michale's love for Robert Mueller. He tried to later say he was just kidding, but he wasn't exactly fooling anybody. He pretty much spews the right-wing talking points out on cue, and I should know since I regularly receive a list of them delivered directly to my inbox. :)

  80. [80] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    78

    Nice link ... for a conspiracy theorist, that is. Heh.

    Well, you were explaining how much "vulgarity" bothers you, so I thought I'd interject a little truth into the conversation. Sometimes my memory cannot help itself... comes with the years of training in both "theory" and "conspiracy," and it sure trumps (pun intended) being referred to as "deep state" or "establishment." :)

  81. [81] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Wanted to thank you too, Neil for [59], which backed me up on post [52]. Good examples, too.

    Y'know, as much as we talk about the influence of Russia on our politics, we ought to pay a bit more attention to the influence of Rupert Murdoch's demon baby news channel on our politics.

    I think we'd be discussing it alot if R. Murdoch was a Russian or a Saudi Prince. Perhaps we should someday discuss having limits on foreign influence on our domestic News industry, or at least give the matter as much attention as the British have.

    After all, if Fox News is primarily (or even partially!) foreign owned, isn't every minute of airtime spent praising Trump essentially a violation of the Emoluments clause of the constitution?

    Political gift from foreign entity: check!

  82. [82] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Bashi (70)-
    Thank you for the excellent suggestions on improving One Demand in your comment.

    Doesn't it feel so much better to debate and converse than to criticize and deride?

    While I would prefer if someone would join and help me, if someone used the idea and made it work I would be satisfied.

    On a related note, one feature of One Demand is that instead of funneling the small contributions through One Demand as many other organizations do the participants make their contributions directly to the candidates.

    This gives the participants control rather than the leader(s) and relieves me of the responsibility for the money.

    Perhaps you are right about the ego thing. Only someone with a HUUUUGE ego would think they could control an organization purposely designed so that they could not control it.

    And who told you about the magic? That was supposed to be a SECRET!

  83. [83] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    82

    Doesn't it feel so much better to debate and converse than to criticize and deride?

    Since 98% of your posts are spent criticizing and deriding "Big Money" Democrats/Republicans or anyone who votes for "Big Money" Democrats/Republicans... which is actually everyone who votes because there's no such thing as a "Small Money" candidate... and criticizing the author of the blog for not genuflecting to your "One Demand" and your multiple other demands, I for one would be curious to know if it felt "so much better" for you, Don.

    I'm not trying to be mean about it either, Don, just borrowing that mirror you took out and turning it back in your general direction... as I am wont to do. :)

  84. [84] 
    neilm wrote:

    Firstly, Merry Christmas everybody :)

    Don:

    I've been thinking about OneDemand and I think that you can apply incremental pressure rather than demand absolute compliance to the standards you decide to set.

    The standards you set were so rigorous that I couldn't sign on as I will vote for the best candidate, and sometimes I might have to be upset that that candidate received more than $250 in donations (hell, I broke that rule myself for two candidates I voted for in 2016, so I'm part of your problem).

    So here is my suggestion:

    1. Set up a web site that has a map of America. Allow people to zoom in on their state. When they do, have the logos of the top donor companies that pay their senators. Also identify the top people who donate to shady political vehicles, etc.

    Make every state look like a Nascar Car.

    Then show people the tools you used to identify the funding sources and let them submit research to you for their congressional district. You can create a small army of researchers digging in to the funding and putting logos all over every congressional district in the country.

    You can also estimate the amount of funding a Senator receives directly and indirectly and have a "Wall of Shame".

    When elections come round your research army can dig into the funding by candidate using the tools you have taught them to use and they can create local "Tables of Shame".

    You can aggregate the data by political party, etc. as well. You can also aggregate the data by "logo" and show who is funding locally, by issue and who is trying to just buy as many politicians as they can.

    This is a LOT of work to get started (you may only be able to get partial information at first), but if you document your methods and sources you have a chance of being picked up by the media as a reliable source.

    I even thought up a name for your website and it is available:

    wikicon.com

    And here is another little present for you:

    http://wikicorrupt.com/

  85. [85] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Neilm-

    Your idea sounds like a good idea, but it seems more like a news/information organization rather than a political organization. Sort of a Consumer Reports for campaign financing.

    But the name you suggest does not seem like a good choice to me. The wiki part looks like a potential legal problem and anything to do with a news/information site that has the word "con" in it doesn't lend itself to credibility.

    Trust me on this one- I have some experience with bad names.

    One Demand is more like Our Revolution or Brand New Congress, but with a somewhat different approach.

    While One Demand may have standards that you feel are too rigorous (assuming you mean the limits are too low), these standards are not set in stone.

    You could sign up and get others to sign up and then get the others to agree to raise the limits if they agree the limits should be higher. One Demand is designed so that I could not control that. (see comment 82)

    And who knows, you may find in the meantime that the limit is fine where it is.

    And if one candidate on your ballot that does not meet the criteria is a candidate that you feel you should vote for anyway, there is often more than just one office on a ballot.

    If you vote for that one candidate as an exception and vote two,three,four or more candidates making the One Demand commitment wouldn't that be better than voting for all Big Money candidates just because you want to support one of them as an exception?

    And even if you sign up to participate, you can change your mind and unsign anytime. So how much could it hurt to sign up and see if it catches on or if any part of it works?

  86. [86] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Neilm-84

    "Set up a web site that has a map of America. Allow people to zoom in on their state. When they do, have the logos of the top donor companies that pay their senators. Also identify the top people who donate to shady political vehicles, etc."

    Opensecrets.org already does this by zip code and map for Congressmen and Senators - but without Nascar iconography.

    I've used Opensecrets for years, it is invaluable. I see no need to reinvent this particular wheel at the Federal level. Opensecrets is a good model for anyone trying to document the money stream at state and county levels.

    DH-85

    "So how much could it hurt to sign up and see if it catches on or if any part of it works?"

    I an very reluctant to sign up by using my Email address. I already get enough spam. How can you ensure your customers that they don't have to worry about their addresses being propagated.

  87. [87] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Stig-
    If by propagated you mean sold or given to someone else I have said on the website that will not occur. I have even stated that One Demand will only send informational emails and not send emails asking for contributions giving participants the opportunity to send in contributions to the organization on their own.
    And I have stated that if it becomes necessary to send emails to ask for contributions they will be limited to one per month.

    Of course, since I will not be the only person making decisions when (if) One Demand becomes an organization instead of an organization waiting to happen I cannot guarantee that will continue at that point. Anyone that would say otherwise would be lying to you. All I can do is guarantee I will do my best to make sure that it does continue and hope that the people that join up and are in on the decisions at that point are the kind of people that will also want it to continue.

    It is pretty much the same anywhere you have to use your email to sign up or comment. Which is pretty much everywhere, including here.

  88. [88] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    By the way, for all of you clamoring to sign up the website is up again. :D

  89. [89] 
    John M wrote:

    I thought this might be interesting;

    With all the discussion about "One Demand" did anyone see the following article in the Huffington Post?:

    Entitled: "An Explosion Of Small Donations Powered Democratic Wins In Virginia House"

    "Democratic House candidates received 153,422 contributions of $100 or less in the 2017 elections, compared to 7,332 such gifts for Republicans, the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project found by analyzing official data."

  90. [90] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    John M-
    I have pretty given up on Huffpost, but thank you, I will check that out.

    As I have said here Bernie was just the tip of the iceberg. And this may also be just the beginning of something big about to happen with small contributions.

    It may not prove may point, but it does seem to bolster and/or lend some credibility to it.

    While I haven't read the article yet, it would be interesting to see if there was an uptick in small contributions in 2017 compared to 2015 and 2013. Maybe that's in the article or the information it is based on.

  91. [91] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    If I'm reading the chart correctly in that article there was actually a doubling in 2013 from years of no change that stayed level in 2015 and then exploded in 2017. Could this be the beginning of pattern?

    I wonder what the percentage of total registered voters in Virginia that is. Probably not even 1% of registered voters. If so, there is a LOT of potential for small contributions.

  92. [92] 
    John M wrote:

    [90] Don Harris

    "While I haven't read the article yet, it would be interesting to see if there was an uptick in small contributions in 2017 compared to 2015 and 2013. Maybe that's in the article or the information it is based on."

    They did include a graph in the article plotting the number of small donations to House candidates of both parties since 2003. The number for Republicans holds steady throughout the entire period from 2003 to 2017, at about 10,000.

    However, the trend line for Democrats begins to change dramatically around 2012, and explodes on an upward trajectory starting in 2015, going from 10,000 in 2011, to 40,000 in 2013 and 2015, and zooming to 160,000 in 2017.

  93. [93] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    5.5 million registered voters in Virginia. Maximum of about 3-4% of registered voters making small contributions depending on how many only made one small contribution. Plenty of room for growth.
    While the above is a positive sign, another important factor is the aggregate contribution. A person making a 100 dollar per month contribution over 10 months of a campaign makes 100 dollar individual contributions but has an aggregate total of 1000 dollars contributed to the campaign.

  94. [94] 
    Paula wrote:

    https://t.co/ocbhYD1CWD

    Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Retain Most Admired Titles

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans once again are most likely to name Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as the man and woman living anywhere in the world they admire most, as they have for the past 10 years. The pair retain their titles this year, although by much narrower margins than in the past. Obama edges out Donald Trump, 17% to 14%, while Clinton edges out Michelle Obama, 9% to 7%.

    Just sayin'

  95. [95] 
    Paula wrote:

    Coda: https://t.co/IhAfasMKGB

    "Trump is the only first-year President to lose the most admired man poll."

    Another victory!

  96. [96] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula

    It would be interesting (and likely informative) to find out how many people they called that refused to pick up, and how many that picked up responded "get the hell off my gawdam phone!"

  97. [97] 
    Michale wrote:

    Paula wrote:

    Another butthurt liberal heard from..

    Tough Times for Liberals Mean It's Time to Toughen Up
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-12-26/tough-times-for-liberals-mean-it-s-time-to-toughen-up

    When I get bummed or depressed, I just find a youtube video that shows a bunch of screaming and crying snowflakes on 9 Nov 2016 and all of the sudden I am laughing, happy and gay again!! :D

    Neil, I lost count... Where am I... :D

  98. [98] 
    Michale wrote:

    It would be interesting (and likely informative) to find out how many people they called that refused to pick up, and how many that picked up responded "get the hell off my gawdam phone!"

    The funny thing is, Hillary's poll numbers are WORSE than Trump's.....

    :D

    WaPoop did a mock election 6 months after the Trump inauguration.. Not only did Hillary lose the Election (AGAIN) but she ALSO lost the vanity vote!! :D

    As I pointed out a few days ago, there is a reason we haven't heard much from the rapist and sexual assaulter enabler..

    Because the rapist and sexual assaulter may finally be called to account...

  99. [99] 
    Paula wrote:

    [96] Stucki: What would be interesting would be a series of articles about Dems who hated DT in 2016 and still hate him, vs. the endless stream of articles about idiot-traitors who loved DT in 2016 and still love him.

    Also articles about the well-off white republicans who voted DT because, contrary to popular belief, DT voters are not all "working class". There were plenty of people (mostly white) who are doing quite well that voted for DT. But the smarter ones who understand the importance of the rule of law, checks and balances, religious freedom, etc., have changed their minds.

  100. [100] 
    Michale wrote:

    Also articles about the well-off white republicans who voted DT because, contrary to popular belief, DT voters are not all "working class".

    Do you have ANY facts to support your claim??

    ANY facts at all??

    Of course you don't...

  101. [101] 
    Michale wrote:

    Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Retain Most Admired Titles

    https://twitter.com/VanityFair/status/944613785171501056

    Yea... Sure she does.. :D

  102. [102] 
    Paula wrote:
  103. [103] 
    Kick wrote:

    Paula
    95

    "Trump is the only first-year President to lose the most admired man poll."

    Another victory!

    I know, right!? All that "winning." *LOL*

    Trump is determined to overtake Benedict Arnold. It'll be interesting to see this poll next year. :)

  104. [104] 
    Paula wrote:

    [103] Kick: Yep!

  105. [105] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    98

    The funny thing is, Hillary's poll numbers are WORSE than Trump's.....

    The really funny thing is how CW pegged you exactly right:

    You, on the other hand, exhibit exactly the behavior you are now ascribing to others. Poll says GOP (or Trump) is up? You gleefully tout it and post links. Polls say GOP/Trump is down? "Polls can't be trusted!"

    I mean, seriously. Get a grip. Because if there's anything that proves confirmation bias around here, it is your refusal to believe any poll you don't like, while boasting about the ones you do like. That, plain and simple, IS confirmation bias. Deal with it, pal.

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/12/20/gops-swamp-creature-of-a-tax-bill/#comment-112677

    With the notable exception that you gleefully touted the poll you liked yet posted zero links. :)

  106. [106] 
    Michale wrote:

    Victoria,

    With the notable exception that you gleefully touted the poll you liked yet posted zero links. :)

    As I have stated, I only post polls to counter ya'all's polls to prove ya'all's hypocrisy..

    My opinions on polls are well known and there is no reason to repeat myself.. As you often do...

    Speaking of polls..

    I recall how ya'all gleefully pointed out the poll that had Trump at 37% approval rating..

    I now point out how Trump's approval rating has jumped to 45% and ya'all ignore that poll..

    As I said.. Ya'all's hypocrisy regarding polls is well-established..

    This is simply more proof..

  107. [107] 
    Michale wrote:

    But if you are wrong for three years straight — about almost everything Trump-related — please adjust your confidence in your predictive powers accordingly.
    -Scott Adams

  108. [108] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    106

    As I have stated, I only post polls to counter ya'all's polls to prove ya'all's hypocrisy..

    Lie #1 -- You post polls when you like what they say, and they are not "only" in response to other polls.

    My opinions on polls are well known and there is no reason to repeat myself.. As you often do...

    Lie #2 -- There must be some reason to repeat yourself because you are the most repetitive poster on this blog. Your stated "opinion on polls" is well known because you repeat it all the time (see Lie #1 above), but your rhetoric and reality are two different things.

    Speaking of polls..

    I recall how ya'all gleefully pointed out the poll that had Trump at 37% approval rating..

    Who is "ya'all"? I didn't gleefully point out that Trump had a 37% approval rating so your "recall" either lies again or needs serious attention since it's mistaken.

    I now point out how Trump's approval rating has jumped to 45% and ya'all ignore that poll..

    Lie #3 -- I don't ignore polls.

    As I said.. Ya'all's hypocrisy regarding polls is well-established..

    See Lie #2 wherein you state you don't repeat yourself.

    This is simply more proof..

    Oh, it's simple alright... on that we can agree. :)

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