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Friday Talking Points -- Walking And Chewing Gum

[ Posted Friday, November 30th, 2018 – 17:42 PST ]

Welcome back to Friday Talking Points, after our one-week Thanksgiving break! Hope everyone had a great holiday and didn't eat too much turkey.

This, of course, could lead to a fun segue into talking about politics ("Speaking of turkeys...") but we're going to refrain from such sophomoric pleasures, for once. Because this week we're going to focus almost exclusively on looking ahead, to January. Once the new Congress is sworn in, Democrats will be in charge of the House of Representatives for the first time in many years. This will provide a crucial check and balance both on President Donald Trump and on all the Republicans who have been busy enabling him. But let's note that that stock phrase has two parts: a check and a balance.

The world of mainstream political pundits has been obsessing over two things, when contemplating the upcoming Democratic takeover of the House: Nancy Pelosi's bid to become speaker again, and the false dichotomy: "Which will Democrats choose -- to investigate Trump and his allies or to work on legislation and perhaps cut some deals with Trump?"

It's a false binary choice, though, because there is absolutely no reason why Democrats can't do both at the same time. They can provide a check on Trump's worst excesses and they can balance the GOP agenda by providing America with an alternate choice, in the form of good legislation passed by the House. They can, to use another trite phrase, walk and chew gum, at the same time. It's really not that complicated to understand, but this basic truth seems to be beyond the abilities of most political pundits to fathom. Seeing as how these are the same bunch who spent the entire election obsessing over the bizarre notion that Democrats should be making impeachment of Trump the centerpiece of their campaign strategy, this isn't too surprising.

But Democrats can do both things simultaneously. A Democratic majority was voted into power for a whole lot of different reasons -- as many reasons as there are congressional districts, in fact. So there are lots of voters out there who are awaiting very different things from the people they just elected. But this shouldn't be seen as some sort of impossible conundrum. Far from it, because our guess is that House Democrats -- led by Nancy Pelosi -- are going to be equal to all the various tasks at hand.

Before we go any further, a few words about Pelosi's bid for speakership. The punditocracy has been salivating over this fight because they love a good dustup, and because there has been little else in the way of horseraces to talk about since the midterm election.

Actually, that's not quite true. The exact makeup of the incoming House is still unknown, because there are still races left to be officially determined. One New York district was just called for the Democratic candidate, which has boosted the total number of incoming Democrats to at least 234 -- a pickup of a minimum of 39 seats. There's your blue wave, right there. However, the pundits don't like to write about this because doing so would require them to admit that they got the call wrong on Election Night.

Snarkiness aside, though, there are three House races out there which still have question marks. There's a second district in New York, near Buffalo, that has yet to be officially called, but the Republican candidate there has a decent lead and will likely be declared the winner. There was some late-breaking news from California's 21st district, where the Democratic candidate has now taken a slim (fewer than 500 votes) lead over the Republican. The Associated Press was forced to "uncall" this race, and it is still up in the air as of this writing. And there's a legal challenge happening in North Carolina's 9th district, where apparently there was some serious attempts at burying mail-in votes. Currently, this race has the Republican winning, but the accusations are so serious that they may even throw out the result entirely and hold a second election.

But if these three races are all called for the candidate currently with the most votes, it would boost the Democratic total in the House to 235, for a net gain of 40 seats. This would leave Republicans with only 200 members in the incoming House.

But back to Pelosi. She easily won the vote in the Democratic caucus to become the nominee for speaker, but 32 Democrats voted against her. This is what the pundits have all been salivating over, because -- by their math -- this means that Pelosi won't have the 218 votes in the full House she seems to need to become speaker. However, their math is wrong, because virtually all the pundits have been conveniently ignoring one crucial House rule that changes the necessary majority total dramatically. We've written about this in detail already, but here it is in a nutshell.

If a House member votes for a speaker candidate during the full floor vote -- whether for Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic nominee; Kevin McCarthy, the Republican nominee; or some third person who hasn't been officially nominated -- then their vote counts in the vote total. To become speaker, a candidate must win a simple majority of these votes. But -- and here's the part everyone's ignoring -- if a House member merely votes "present" (not voting for any candidate at all) then their vote is not included in the total. This lowers the overall total, which also lowers the number needed for a majority.

So let's take the worst case scenario, with "present" votes allowed for. If all 32 of the Democrats who didn't vote for Pelosi in the caucus vote also don't vote for her on the floor, but vote "present" instead, then that will leave a total of 403 votes which count. A simple majority of that number is 202 votes. Now, if Democrats don't win that final open election in California, then they will have 234 members. Subtract the 32 "present" votes from this total, and you get -- you guessed it -- 202 votes for Pelosi. If the Democrats do pick up the California seat, then this total could even be 203 votes.

So even if all the rebels decline to vote for Pelosi, she's still got a clear path to victory. If these 32 people vote for McCarthy, then he'll win and we'll have a Republican speaker for a Democratic-majority House. This is pretty far-fetched, though, you've got to admit. If the 32 rebels vote for a third person (one of their own, although so far nobody's been brave enough to put his or her name forward), then all it will do is delay the outcome, as the House votes over and over and over again until someone emerges with a majority. Neither of these is really a viable outcome, which is why voting "present" is the likeliest thing for the rebels to do. By doing so they can completely fulfill their campaign pledge "not to vote for Pelosi for speaker," while at the same time not completely upsetting the applecart in any big way. They can make good on their political promise, and Pelosi will still become speaker without their support. This will be somewhat of a letdown for all the pundits who are pushing the "Will Pelosi be defeated for speaker?" headlines, but it is also the most realistic outcome one can expect.

If Pelosi emerges victorious, then she will return to the speaker's chair after an absence of eight years. That's pretty rare, since regaining the speakership after losing it hasn't happened since Sam Rayburn pulled off the feat in the 1950s.

Make no doubt about it, Nancy Pelosi is going to hit the ground running. There will be no learning curve. There will be no instability as she learns the powers and limits of her office. She's already been there and done that, so she won't have any problem moving forward on her first day.

Nancy Pelosi is also smart enough to walk and chew gum at the same time. She knows that she's got a lot of things to balance, and that there is a huge amount of enthusiasm both from incoming freshmen members and from the wider Democratic electorate who sent them to Washington. This enthusiasm covers a lot of things, most definitely including passing as progressive an agenda as the new Democratic House can manage, as well as investigating Donald Trump and all his minions. Both of these things will happen simultaneously. This may cause some pundits' heads to explode, but it will indeed happen. Pelosi knows that moderate voters just want to see Democrats get some things done while the rabid partisans want to see Trump put under the biggest microscope imaginable. But there is simply no reason why both can't happen with Pelosi in charge.

So we're devoting pretty much our entire column to the concept of Democrats in the House being able to simultaneously perambulate and masticate successfully. All the other political stories are just going to have to wait until next week for us to dive into. Maybe by then we'll fully have emerged from our tryptophan haze and can devote the necessary energy to this neverending task.

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We're going to whip through the awards quickly, since we've got a rather extended talking points section to get to.

Our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week is none other than Nancy Pelosi. Most House speakers, when they lose their majority, step down from the House altogether, and many retire from politics from that point on. When Pelosi lost control of the House in what Barack Obama called "a shellacking," during the Tea Party wave of 2010, Pelosi refused to go gentle into that good night and instead decided to stick around and try to win the chamber back. She had a very long road to doing so, since the Republicans were so successful in gerrymandering the House districts in 2011, which Democrats have had to live with for the rest of the decade. But she finally overcame even this tilted playing field and won back the majority this year.

In the intervening years, Pelosi has been an absolute master of holding her caucus together. By doing so, she aided and abetted the Tea Party faction in their absolute refusal to pass almost all of the Republican agenda, for eight solid years. Just imagine what the GOP could have gotten done if the Tea Partiers hadn't existed as a thorn in both John Boehner and Paul Ryan's sides. This also could have come about if House Democrats -- as they did routinely during the Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush eras -- crossed the aisle in sufficient number to allow the GOP agenda to continue even without the Tea Party votes.

That did not happen, because Pelosi herded the Democratic cats so successfully as minority leader.

Now Pelosi stands on the brink of becoming the first speaker to return to wielding the gavel since the 1950s, after overseeing the biggest Democratic gains in any House midterm election since Watergate. Much was made of the resistance against Pelosi from within her own caucus, but she actually won her caucus vote with fewer defections than the last time she ran for the position. If the Democratic rebels can be convinced that voting "present" is sufficient to make good on their campaign promises, then Pelosi will be the House's next speaker.

For her institutional knowledge of the House, for corralling her party's caucus even when they were in the wilderness of the House minority, and for knowing how to wheel and deal behind the scenes to get things done, Nancy Pelosi is the winner of this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. We certainly look forward to some drastic changes in the way the House runs, which will start next January under Pelosi's leadership.

[Congratulate Representative Nancy Pelosi on her House contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Sometimes we interpret this award's definition differently, and this is one of those weeks. Usually we hand out the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week on the criteria of which Democrat was most disappointing during the week. But this time we're reading it as the person who disappointed the most Democrats during the week.

Through no real fault of his own, this week Mike Espy lost a runoff Senate race in Mississippi. He lost to a woman who is given to showing her obviously deep-rooted feelings about race and about who should be encouraged to vote and who should not. But even what would be scandalous behavior elsewhere in America wasn't enough for her to lose her race. It is, after all, still Mississippi.

Espy was never favored to win this race, but it sure would have been a great end to the midterm election cycle for Democrats if he had pulled off an upset. After winning a Senate seat in Alabama, anything seemed possible for a brief moment of time. But then reality brought those hopes crashing back down (see comment about it still being Mississippi).

So for disappointing millions of hopeful Democrats across the country this week -- again, through no fault of his own, as Espy ran an admirable campaign -- Mike Espy is our winner of the literally-interpreted Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[Mike Espy is now a private citizen, and our policy is to not provide contact information for such persons, sorry.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 510 (11/30/18)

Our talking points today are meant to show how Democrats can set the political agenda in Washington for the next two years. This will mean cutting any possible deals with Trump (who will convince the Senate Republicans to go along, assumably) to actually get some things signed into law; it will mean passing Democratic agenda items in the House even if the Senate never takes the bills up; and it will mean investigating Trump and his entire group of henchmen (and henchwomen) under a very powerful microscope.

That should be Democrats' three-pronged strategy. Perhaps they'll start with the items that Trump has previously expressed an interest in, such as infrastructure. Maybe this could lead to an actual deal, who knows? It's certainly worth a try, and it certainly won't be the Democrats' fault if it fails. If Pelosi and Trump can sit down and agree to a deal, then the House can pass it and from that point on it's up to the Republicans to follow through. Infrastructure isn't the only deal that might be struck, merely the most prominent.

But Democrats shouldn't be bound just by what Trump will accept. They should also be passing the rest of their legislative agenda, which will show the American people that Democrats -- unlike Republicans, these days -- actually have positive ideas for change that could make people's lives a whole lot better and easier. Once again, if House Democrats pass a whole slew of bills that the public overwhelmingly supports, then it'll be on the Senate Republicans if those bills never become law. The longterm strategy here was beautifully put into words by Representative John Sarbanes recently: "Give us the gavel in the Senate in 2020 and we'll pass it in the Senate. Give us a pen in the Oval Office and we'll sign those kinds of reforms into law." Passing an ambitious agenda in the House -- even if it goes nowhere in the Senate -- will provide Democratic candidates in 2020 a dandy platform to run on: "Here's what Democrats want to accomplish -- elect us and this will happen!"

And finally, no matter how much Trump blusters and threatens, House Democrats need to dedicate their oversight committees to investigating everything Trump has been up to, starting with making his tax returns public and going right up to what he said or tweeted about last week. Or yesterday. Or an hour ago. Or... whoops, he's at it again!

We've taken our talking points this week from two sources. The first three come directly from an article written by Nancy Pelosi and John Sarbanes in support of "H.R. 1" -- the first bill Democrats plan to file in the new House in January. We've written about this bill before, but it still has yet to catch the media's interest, so it's worth exploring in depth, and Pelosi and Sarbanes hit exactly the right notes in explaining the bill, so we decided to just post their talking points.

The next three talking points come straight from Senator Bernie Sanders, who published his own "first 100 days" wish list of agenda items. We encourage everyone to read Bernie's whole list for themselves, as we were forced to exclude some of his ideas for reasons of space. And it was a tough call what to cut, because we had to omit fantastic and popular ideas such as "fixing our broken criminal justice system" and "progressive tax reform."

Our last talking point is just a reminder that oversight isn't just a political exercise, it is an actual constitutional duty for the legislative branch.

If we had eight talking points to work with, we would have included the following quote from incoming House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, because it succinctly sums up why Democrats need to protect the Bob Mueller investigation as part of this oversight responsibility:

The Special Counsel has now secured guilty pleas from President Trump's personal attorney, his campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager, a foreign policy advisor to his campaign, and his National Security Advisor. He has filed 191 charges against more than thirty individuals -- almost all of whom are in President Trump's orbit, Vladimir Putin's orbit, or both. The President can pretend that this investigation has nothing to do with him and nothing to do with Russia, but these indictments speak for themselves. We must allow this investigation to run its course without interference from the President or his allies on Capitol Hill. As the new Congress begins, these developments make clear that my colleagues and I must step in and provide accountability. No one is above the law, not even the President, and our job will be to check his impulse to abuse his office to protect himself. We will do everything in our power to allow the Special Counsel to finish his work and follow the facts and the law to their conclusion.

Since we didn't have room for it below, we thought we'd include it here. But enough odds and ends, lets get to our ideas for what should be the Democrats' seven highest-priority agenda items, come next January, and what they should be talking about right now. If enough Democrats start actually using these talking points and directing media interviews back to a very solid agenda, maybe eventually the pundits will have to take notice? It's certainly worth a shot.

 

1
   H.R. 1 will target Citizens United

Democrats' new H.R. 1 bill has three basic parts. The first deals with fighting against the changes that Citizens United has ushered in to our political system. Our first three talking points come directly from the Pelosi and Sarbanes article previously mentioned.

Let's rein in the unaccountable "dark money" unleashed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision by requiring all political organizations to disclose their donors and by shutting down the shell game of big-money donations to super PACs. We must also empower hard-working Americans in our democracy by building a 21st-century campaign-finance system -- combining small-donor incentives and matching support -- to increase and multiply the power of small donors. Wealthy special interests shouldn't be able to buy more influence than the workers, consumers and families who should be our priority in Washington.

 

2
   H.R. 1 will reform governmental ethics

The second part also fights the corrupting influence of money in politics, from a different angle.

Next, let's make sure that when public servants get to Washington, they serve the public. Restoring the public's trust means closing the revolving door between government and private industries, and imposing strong new ethics laws to stop officials from using their public office for personal gain. To do so, we will expand conflict-of-interest laws, ban members of Congress from serving on for-profit boards, revamp the oversight authority of the Office of Government Ethics and prohibit public servants from receiving bonus payments from their former employers to enter government. We'll curb the influence of high-powered Washington insiders by closing lobbyist registration loopholes that allow big-money power brokers and foreign actors to operate in the shadows. That way, well-connected special interests won't be able to steer the policy agenda away from the priorities of the American public.

 

3
   H.R. 1 will strengthen the right to vote

Republicans have been waging all-out war on people's right to vote, ever since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. It's high time Democrats began to fight back in this arena. What they really need is a full-on "Voters' Bill Of Rights," but this has to be seen as a big first step in the right direction.

We must renew the Voting Rights Act to protect every citizen's access to the ballot box and restore the vital safeguard of pre-clearance requirements for areas with a history of voter suppression. We will promote national automatic voter registration, bolster our critical election infrastructure against foreign attackers, and put an end to partisan gerrymandering once and for all by establishing federal guidelines to outlaw the practice. No American should face hours-long lines, broken voting machines or rules rigged to keep their vote from being counted in our elections.

 

4
   A $1 trillion infrastructure plan

These next three are Bernie's, all taken (indirectly, and paraphrased) from his first 100 days agenda. This first one is the most likely to actually become reality in the next two years, since Trump campaigned so heavily on the idea.

"Donald Trump promised America when he ran for president that he would fix all our airports and roads and other infrastructure. He talked about a bold, sweeping agenda for upgrading the nation's facilities. But for the past two years, there's been nary a peep about such a plan from the White House. Now that Democrats will be in charge in the House, we're happy to sit down and work out an infrastructure plan with the White House. It has to be big and it has to be bold, which is why we're calling for a trillion-dollar investment in the future of America. Think of how many jobs that represents! We need to get to work to improve our roads, our airports, and our public transportation all across this country, and we welcome President Trump to the table to work out how we're going to do it. We want to help him make good on the promise he made to his supporters, plain and simple."

 

5
   Improve people's lives

This is a general point that has all kinds of specifics (more than we've listed here). Democrats can very easily present a stark contrast to the Republican way of running Congress, merely by pursuing ideas that actually help people. What, after all, has Paul Ryan done to improve anyone's life over the past two years? It's an easy case to make.

"Democrats want to make the average worker's life better. In fact, Democrats want to make everyone's lives better. We can do this by immediately increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and by building into the minimum wage a yearly cost-of-living adjustment so we never have to have a big political fight about it ever again! That is certainly worth our time and effort, right off the bat. Democrats will work with Donald Trump on one of his own agenda items and lower the cost of prescription drugs. There is absolutely no reason why Americans shouldn't pay the much-lower prices that Canadians pay for exactly the same prescription drugs. The only reason we don't pay this price today is raw corporate greed. The drug companies have been soaking the American consumers for so long, they now think they have some sort of divine right to do so. We need to prove this crazy idea wrong, as soon as possible. And instead of attacking Obamacare, Democrats need to improve and expand it, by creating a pathway towards Medicare-for-all, at least for those people who want it. It's time to bring back the public option, folks. All of these ideas would improve people's lives, and none of these ideas was ever seriously discussed by Republicans when they ran the place. This is just the tip of the iceberg, too -- for the next two years, you'll see Democrats tackling issues that people actually care about at their kitchen tables. This will be the most dramatic contrast possible to the absolute inaction we've seen recently in Congress."

 

6
   OK, so where's the wall money?

Democrats really shouldn't shy away from this one, because it has been festering for far too long now.

"Donald Trump today signed a 'NAFTA 2.0' agreement with Canada and Mexico. It has now been two years since Trump was elected president. And yet for some reason, he's still insisting that the American taxpayer should foot the bill for his southern border wall. Remember when Trump campaigned? He'd scream: 'Who is going to pay for the wall?' and his supporters would roar back: 'Mexico!' But then once he got into office, he began asking Congress for billions upon billions of American taxpayer dollars to build his dream wall. When asked why Mexico wasn't paying for it, Trump responded that there were many ways to make Mexico pay for the wall -- after American taxpayers provided the seed money as a kind of loan -- and that when he reached trade deals with Mexico, they'd wind up footing the bill in the end. Well, Mister President, you just got your trade deal with Canada and Mexico, so where is the money from Mexico to pay for your wall? Democrats will not allow American taxpayers to pay for this wall, since you promised that Mexico would be happy to pay for it. Once we get past this ridiculous and counterproductive idea, Democrats are happy to sit down with President Trump and discuss the real comprehensive immigration reform this country needs. We almost reached a deal earlier, but his advisors shot it down after Trump had agreed to it. This time around, we need Trump to tell his puppetmasters to take a hike and maybe we can get a deal to protect the Dreamers and fix the problems in our immigration system for good."

 

7
   It's our duty

Hit this one hard, because Trump isn't going to like it one bit.

"Donald Trump has threatened to use the Senate Republicans as pawns to launch embarrassing disclosures about Democrats, if Democrats in the House begin investigating Trump and his entire administration. It remains to be seen whether the Senate Republicans will go along with being Trump's stooges in this fashion, but it really doesn't matter one way or the other. House Democratic committee chairs have a sworn constitutional duty to provide oversight to the executive branch. Let me say that once again, because it is an important concept: it is our duty to provide oversight. The Constitution requires it. For the past two years, Republicans in Congress have, for the most part, completely abdicated this duty. Democrats will not. Democrats will investigate what needs to be investigated, and we will follow any trail of corruption or illegality that we find. The Trump administration has been up to all sorts of dubious things in the past two years, and Trump needs to realize that there's a new sheriff in town now. This isn't some sort of game, and it isn't some sort of personal attack -- instead, Democrats will be doing our constitutional duty to provide oversight on the executive branch of government. The only reason things will be different after January is that up until now, Republicans have absolutely refused to perform this sworn duty."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

16 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Walking And Chewing Gum”

  1. [1] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Fabulous. You almost make me optimistic about the future of constitutional governance in our country!

  2. [2] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Great article, CW!!! At the end, all I could think of was “(CW drops the mic and walks off stage)” !

  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    RIP george hw bush.

    i disagreed with a lot of his policies and appointments, but he was a part of that last generation of republicans who still believed in the honor of his position. which placed him in stark contrast with his rival and running mate. by robert bork's nomination and breaking the air traffic controllers strike, reagan really started the post-nixonian nuclear arms race in american politics. bush soldiered on but never really bought in, which is probably why he was eclipsed by the clintons.

    JL

  4. [4] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I second 1,2 and 3

  5. [5] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    nypoet (4)-
    well said.

  6. [6] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Going briefly off topic, Trump looks very isolated and off his game ( such as it is) at G 20. I think Putin is about to bury his kompromat knife in Trump's belly. A spycraft twofer. I have always thought their bromance was going to end badly for Trump...and the USA.

  7. [7] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "Here's what Democrats want to accomplish, elect us and this WILL HAPPEN."

    Sorry but reality makes that statement the equivalent of Republicans saying that Obama told business owners they didn't build their businesses.

    In reality it should be: Here's what Democrats want to appear to accomplish, elect us and this will happen THIS TIME even though it has not happened the other times we were in control.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6cf_Y4rhng

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    Great column, and also comments [1] to [3].

    I am far more optimistic about the country now we have the ability to stop Trump's corruption and moronic ideas and put forward sensible ideas that benefit most Americans instead of just the super wealthy and stockholders.

  9. [9] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick-
    As the comments from the last FTP are now closed I must respond to your bullshit here.

    Since when do the rules require no justification if the rules limit a constitutional right?

    Once again, I did not say I have unlimited rights. I said if you want to limit my rights you have to have justification by demonstrating how exercising my rights causes harm.

    I never said everyone agrees with me. I said I have the right to free speech even if no one agrees with me.

    All you ever do is change what I say and argue against that instead of countering my actual argument.

    Assuming from your other comments aboot college that you attended and possibly graduated, how did you ever get through college to graduate if all you seem to be able to do is avoid addressing the issues?

    Did you major in deflection or just attend a shitty college?

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    my right to throw a pie stops where your face begins. in this case really it's CW's right to allow whatever content he deems appropriate for his own blog. if he says you can complain about things most people don't care about when pie would be much better, then you can. but of course i can hope that eventually you'll be converted to supporting pie.

    JL

  11. [11] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Mississippi...Can't you just jettison that entire rabble from the Union?

    I get partisanship, religious disability, homophobia, agoraphobia and even 'luposlipaphobia'...but as long as I have a hole in my arse, I'll never get racism. Even my time spent in upstate NY shed no light on this American under-current of blinkered bigotry. It makes no sense. It does not compute. It's not logical. And, it get on my tits. So knock it off, America. Dumbasses.

    Rip, G.H.W.B 41. I quite liked this old fart, he found his ground when Iraq jumped Kuwait. Not only did he organize a veritable worldwide coalition against an aggressor, but he also defied belief in bringing Israel and that fuckwit, Netanyahu, to heel after the SCUDS started dropping. (Joke at the time...'why won't the Israelis listen to the Americans? because last time they listened to a bush, they spent 40 years wondering around a desert) So hat off to G.B 41.

    Great article, C.W...well worth the price of admission. I'm not saying that like, "you have a great face for radio' either. It does feel like the Dems are like drunken sailors as January approaches, they need to focus on drilling Trump for his many crimes, healthcare, immigration and infrastructure. By focusing on universal concerns, they keep their message simple enough that even the odd stray republican can see its logic.

    Back to the Leafs...Happy Saturday.

    LL&P

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    JTC

    Interesting idea....sort of a reverse secession. Mississippi, the new Micro-Union would have little choice but to declare war on the 49 breakaway states. On to Washington! Ken Burns gets fresh material for a PBS documentary! What's not to like?

  13. [13] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Arm waving: "The use of insubstantial, unsupported, or sensational arguments or claims..." - Oxford Online Dictionary.

    Trump's self defense was literally reduced to unhinged arm waving at a presser prior to leaving for G20.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjOjoBve-Ko

    New term: Arm Salad...

    "The gesticulations accompanying unhinged arm waving."

  14. [14] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Random question that I would appreciate everyone’s thoughts on:

    Should Obama have shared the intel he had that Russia was aiding Trump’s campaign with the Electoral College voters prior to their vote?

    The Electoral College failed at its role as the protector of the office of the presidency from individuals who are unfit to hold the office. Trump is exactly the type of candidate that Madison and Hamilton both believed the EC would prevent from coming into power, and this failure undermines the logic for us even having electors.

    I realized the other day that if the EC were not privy to the intelligence reports regarding Trump and Russia, then there was no true opportunity for them to fulfill their obligations as electors. McConnell prevented Obama from letting the world know that the FBI was investigating Trump’s ties to Russia prior to Election Day, but shouldn’t the electors have all the relevant information about the candidates they will be voting on?

    Do we need a law requiring the EC to be given all relevant intelligence information about any candidate being investigated by our intelligence agencies prior to their vote? Would it have changed the outcome of the 2016 election? I have no idea if it would, but I would have still felt better knowing the EC had all the information available for them to cast their vote for who should lead our nation!

  15. [15] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW- and other fans of Father Ted

    Father Jack joins the Yellow Vests demonstrating at the Arc D' Triomphe!

    Seems to be yelling Feck Off!... or maybe Drink!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-DF9iZnM5M

    approx. 50 seconds into the video :)

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @russ,
    No, Obama should not have done that. There's a lot he should have done beforehand, like use every power he had to force a vote on judge Garland, but once the electors were chosen such a move would just have backfired.
    JL

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