Friday Talking Points -- Trump's Big Speech, And A Virginia Meltdown

[ Posted Friday, February 8th, 2019 – 18:52 UTC ]

It's been an eventful week, with Trump's second State Of The Union speech and Virginia politics entering complete free-fall. Democrats in the House began work in earnest this week as well, on both the legislative and investigative fronts. Also, there are now some new Boondocks comics! So the week was anything but dull, although it was a bit disjointed.

President Donald Trump gave his second State Of The Union speech this week, in which he flat-out threatened the United States economy if Democrats had the temerity to investigate him. Here are the two relevant passages, from the transcript:

But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution -- and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.

Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future. The decision is ours to make.

We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.

Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.

. . .

An economic miracle is taking place in the United States -- and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.

If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way!

Even Republicans were too stunned to applaud that last line, it's worth mentioning. And, the very next day, Democrats decided not to "choose greatness" and instead forged ahead in multiple investigations of the Trump administration. As is their constitutional duty, of course.

Even Trump's ham-fisted threats rang hollow. After all, in the 1990s, the Republicans investigated Bill Clinton within an inch of his life, and yet the economy boomed. So there is no direct correlation to be found, sorry.

Later, Trump hilariously claimed that what the Democrats were doing was "presidential harassment," and (even more amusingly) that "the Republicans never did this to President Obama." Seriously? On what planet? And that's not to mention the 18 times Trump has called for investigations into his political opponents, either. Sheesh!

We'll have other tidbits from both the speech and the reaction to the speech later on in the program, but for now let's move along to the other political news. Democrats have begun walking the tightrope between aggressively investigating Trump and not appearing to go overboard, and so far they've been pulling it off. One House committee is taking the time to lay the groundwork for getting Trump's tax forms from the I.R.S., rather than just going right ahead and doing so. Other committees are opening new investigations with similar caution. Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, are being as scrupulous as possible about moving forward, which is the right thing to do for now. The next few weeks are going to be very interesting on C-SPAN, that's for sure. Today was the first notable hearing, as Democrats grilled Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, but he'll just be the first of many.

Democrats are also moving forward legislatively, but here too they are taking pains to get things right. They're holding hearings and getting their ducks in a row, with legislation to follow. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a splash this week by introducing the "Green New Deal," but this was largely aspirational -- a "plan to create a plan," as one commentator put it. In other words, it lays out some very high goals to shoot for without solid details as to how we're going to get there. This prompted some immediate criticism, but we don't buy it for two reasons. The first is that she's only been in office a single month, and the second is that no green plan is going to get through the Senate in the next two years anyway. She's got plenty of time to flesh her ideas out, in other words.

There was news (both important and trivial) from the presidential campaign trail this week, most of it involving Democrats who have either declared their candidacies or are about to.

Beto O'Rourke was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, and dropped many hints that he's going to run. Amy Klobuchar announced that she'll make an announcement this weekend, which almost certainly means she's in, too.

Bernie Sanders hasn't announced yet, but he took the time to offer his own personal rebuttal to the State Of The Union speech this week. Bernie waggishly pointed out: "I hate to say this, but not everything Donald Trump said tonight was true or accurate." Bernie also pointed out this week that a single drug company had taken a drug that used to be absolutely free for patients and slapped a jaw-dropping $375,000-per-year price tag on it. Sanders called this "a blatant fleecing of American taxpayers" and "an immoral exploitation of patients who need this medication," and it's hard to disagree. High drug prices are a more potent issue than most politicians realize, even deep in Trump country, so Bernie deserves some credit for getting out in front of this example of corporate greed gone wild.

Elizabeth Warren faced new questions when the Washington Post uncovered a Texas bar card that she had filled out with her race listed (in her own handwriting) as "American Indian," and she has issued a fresh new round of apologies.

Meanwhile, Cory Booker announced that he now has a girlfriend. This brings up an interesting point, since America has only ever elected a bachelor to the Oval Office once in its entire history (James Buchanan). It was also announced this week that a super PAC had formed to support Booker. Booker has promised not to take PAC money, and didn't explicitly call for this PAC to end. He's in the same position a lot of Democrats now find themselves -- after having previously benefited from big donors, they've now got to try to position themselves as purely small-donor candidates, now that the rank-and-file voters' mood has changed so much.

Billionaire Howard Schultz, who is seriously considering an independent bid for the presidency, had a pretty rocky week. First he begged people to use a different term than "billionaire." Here's his suggestion, instead:

I would rephrase that and say that "people of means" have been able to leverage their wealth and their interest in ways that are unfair, and I think that speaks to the inequality but it also speaks to the special interests that are paid for people of wealth and corporations who are looking for influence.

Maybe we can compromise on something like "people of B.S."? Schultz then gave a speech billed as a policy speech, to show everyone that he's a serious guy with serious answers to America's problems. The only problem was, he didn't really have much in the way of answers, he spent most of the time just badmouthing both parties in an extreme display of false equivalence. He used the terms "far left" or "far right" fourteen separate times during the speech, but the audience wasn't all that impressed. On two separate occasions, Schultz had to beg the audience to clap, drawing immediate comparisons to Jeb Bush.

Away from the campaign trail and Congress, the biggest news of the week was Virginia's government in total meltdown mode. But we're going to address that in the awards, so we just mention it here in passing.

And we have some sad news to close on, as the death of John Dingell was reported. Dingell holds the record for longest-serving House member (he was elected a staggering 29 times, and first took office when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president), and was called the "Dean of the House" -- high praise indeed.

Requiescat In Pace.


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We have a number of Honorable Mention awards to hand out this week, starting with Nancy Pelosi for her sarcastic clap at Trump during the State Of The Union (which quickly went viral on the internet). Her own daughter Christine Pelosi translated this "mom-speak" for everyone, just in case anyone was still wondering: "Oh yes, that clap took me back to the teen years. She knows. And she knows that you know. And frankly she's disappointed that you thought this would work. But here's a clap." Priceless!

Bernie Sanders also gets an Honorable Mention for exposing Catalyst Pharmaceuticals' insane greed. Here's the story, in case you haven't heard it:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is demanding to know why a pharmaceutical company has slapped a $375,000 list price on a drug that patients used to get for free.

Sanders accused Patrick McEnany, president and CEO of Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Inc., of “a blatant fleecing of American taxpayers” and “an immoral exploitation of patients who need this medication” in a scathing letter Monday.

The drug, known as Firdapse, treats a rare autoimmune disease called Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, which fatigues and weakens muscles by causing the body to attack its own tissues.

The drug had been available at no cost for two decades under the name 3,4-DAP from Jacobus Pharmaceutical as part of the Food and Drug Administration’s compassionate use program. The drug, though unapproved specifically for Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, often was prescribed by doctors for the condition.

Catalyst in November won expedited FDA approval to sell Fidapse [sic] as the first treatment for Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. A month later, the company announced the list price for a year’s treatment: $375,000.

Adam Schiff, who is going to become a serious thorn in Trump's side, reopened the House investigation into Trump's Russia connections again this week. He also broadened the scope of the investigation to include:

(3) Whether any foreign actor has sought to compromise or holds leverage, financial or otherwise, over Donald Trump, his family, his business, or his associates.

(4) Whether President Trump, his family, or his associates are or were at any time at heightened risk of, or vulnerable to, foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion, or have sought to influence U.S. government policy in service of foreign interests.

Explicitly mentioning Trump's family was a nice touch.

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week goes to Stacey Abrams and all the women in suffragette white in the audience for Trump's speech.

Abrams had the tough job of giving the Democratic response to Trump's speech, and she did a great job. In ten minutes' time (as opposed to Trump's 82 minutes), Abrams strongly rejected the Republican and Trumpian way of looking at the world and instead offered up a very different way to view politics. She rejected Trump and the GOP strongly without stooping to name-calling or nastiness. On that level alone, she bested Trump.

Abrams is obviously not going to quietly fade away, and national Democrats are already trying to talk her into running for Senate in 2020. Flipping a Georgia Senate seat would be even more impressive than flipping the governor's office, in the grand scheme of things. Whatever she chooses to do, though, her speech this week showed that she's ready for it.

During Trump's speech, though, the women in suffragette white really stole the scene. One hundred years ago, Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. This political fight took decades to win, and it was an enormous victory for American women. A century later, a whole wave of women entered Congress as the vanguard of the Resistance and Women's March movements. That is historically fitting.

Trump even gave them a nod during his speech, which they turned into the most interesting protest seen in a long time in Congress. Instead of rudely yelling something ("You lie!"), the women all essentially thanked Donald Trump for getting them elected. If there had never been President Trump, then a whole lot of these women would never have won office, plain and simple. Their joyful reaction to Trump pointed this out in a way that was nothing short of brilliant and spontaneous.

Trump's 2019 State Of The Union will be remembered for two things in the future (that's our guess, anyway): flat-out threatening Democrats not to investigate him, and the Democratic women in suffragette white delightfully thanking Trump for getting them elected.

[You'll have to check which House members wore white and sat in the suffragette section for the big speech on your own if you'd like to congratulate them, and Stacy Abrams is now a private citizen, so we cannot provide contact information for her, either -- sorry.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

In one week's time, Virginia's government has seen more scandals than most states see in a decade. Except, on reflection, maybe Illinois or New York.

Kidding aside, Virginia's politics are in total free-fall right now, and we apparently haven't even hit bottom, with new revelations and accusations appearing on a daily basis. Last Friday, the news that Governor Ralph Northam had an indefensible photo on his medical school yearbook page broke. He apologized for appearing in such a racist photo, and then the next day recanted and said it wasn't him. Oh, and that he had never seen the photo before. Although he had actually donned blackface, and seemed strangely expert on what to use (noting that shoe polish takes forever to get off). He actually had to be stopped by his wife from proving he knew how to moonwalk.

Next up was Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who was accused of sexual assault (or rape, depending on the legal definition) by a woman who said he forced her to perform oral sex at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Fairfax is black, so he briefly was seen as a great answer to Northam's scandal -- he could step in and take over, which would be a fitting result. Democrats then spent a few days agonizing over whether to be hypocritical or not. They had drawn a line with Brett Kavanaugh's accusers, and now they either had to uphold the standard of believing all accusers or show a monumental amount of hypocrisy.

Then the second in line to the governor's office, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, came out and admitted that he too had worn blackface while in college. This was after he had called on Northam to resign for wearing blackface, mind you. This meant that the top three Democrats in the Virginia government were all tainted one way or another. If all three of them stepped down, it would mean a Republican (who is third in the line of succession) would take over the job.

Then came yesterday's news: the Republican state senate leader had been the editor of his college yearbook, which included not only photos of students in blackface, but also reprehensible racist language. This allowed the state's Democrats to begin calling the multiple scandals "bipartisan," but that's really not saying much, at this point.

Today's news (which just broke): a second woman has now accused Lieutenant Governor Fairfax of raping her. Any hopes Democrats had of him becoming governor assumably died when this news broke.

Probably the most astonishing thing in this whole sordid story is that nobody has yet resigned. Northam reportedly hired an investigator to find out the full story of that photo, and he apparently isn't going anywhere in the meantime. Fairfax also was hanging in there, but that was before today's news broke (this situation may have changed by the time you read this, however). Mark Herring is also hanging tough, waiting to see what the other two wind up doing. Last week, we predicted that Northam would be gone within hours (by Monday morning, at the latest), but events have proven this optimism wrong.

Which leaves us with only one clear option: handing out Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week awards to all three men. The word disappointing doesn't even really begin to cover it, either. The story of Democrats flipping Virginia from red to blue has been one of the most interesting political developments over the last decade or so, but these scandals could set Democratic hopes in the state back in a big way. None of the statewide offices is up for election this year, but Virginia does have legislative elections in November. Democrats were hoping to build on their gains, but this is now in serious question.

Instead of optimistically looking forward to the next election, Virginia Democrats are now trying to hold a discussion of when blackface is a career-ending political sin and when it could be excused. And the only other possible way out of their problem is backing a man who has now twice been accused of rape.

For putting their state and their party in this position, we hereby award Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award. We sincerely hope this situation gets resolved soon, so we don't have to keep giving them more MDDOTW awards, week after week.

[Contact Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on his Virginia state government contact page, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax on his Virginia state government contact page, and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on his Virginia state government contact page to let them know what you think of their actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 517 (2/8/19)

Half of this week's talking points deal with Trump's big speech, and then the other half are pretty scattershot. Use responsibly, as always.


   Mobster tactics

This needs to be denounced in the strongest possible terms.

"President Donald Trump began his State Of The Union speech by issuing a threat to Democrats: don't investigate me, or either the economy will tank or perhaps I'll start a war. It's hard to read his words any other way, really. I would call this a banana republic thing for a president to do, but I don't want to insult banana republics. It's closer, in fact, to a mobster running a protection racket -- 'Nice little economy you got here, be a shame it something happened to it.' Not since Richard Nixon called for an end to the Watergate investigation in a State Of The Union has the country seen this level of desperation from a president. Trump must have a lot to hide, if he's attempting to take the entire economy hostage over it."


   What Trump said and didn't say

The contrast is striking.

"We heard quite a number of words in Trump's State Of The Union that have never before been uttered in such a speech. Among them were: bloodthirsty, sadistic, venomous, and chilling. Soaring inspirational oratory this was not, in other words. It seems that fearmongering is all Trump has left. You know what he didn't even mention at all during his entire speech? The deficit. The national debt. Social Security. Medicare. Climate change. Gun safety. Voting rights. Forced family separations at the border. Some of these subjects Republicans used to deeply care about, but Trump didn't even give them lip service. The absence of leadership in Trump's speech was stark, when you compare what he did say to what he didn't even mention."


   Not that you can believe him anyway

This is the new normal, but that doesn't mean Democrats shouldn't continue to point it out.

"The fact-checkers at the Washington Post reviewed Trump's State Of The Union speech and found 30 blatant falsehoods in it. That's astonishing, because it means Trump lied roughly once every three minutes. Now, there's always some partisan spin in these speeches, but spin is one thing and outright falsehoods are another. At this point, if I were a Democrat running for president, I would make the promise never to lie to the American public a cornerstone of my campaign, because I think the American people are sick and tired of Trump's constant lying."


   Thanks for my job!

This clip will live forever, at least in the hearts and minds of Democratic women.

"Of course, the most amusing part of the speech was when Trump touted how many women now had jobs. Many suffragette-white-clad congresswomen leapt up in delight and began pointing to themselves. The message was as clear as crystal -- 'Thank you for my job, Mister President, because if you hadn't been president I probably never would have won my election!' Somehow, I don't think that's how his speechwriters expected them to react, but it was absolutely priceless."


   Poor baby

Hit Trump in his image, hard.

"Donald Trump was supposed to be the hairy-chested he-man of politics, a counterpuncher extraordinaire who would singlehandedly fight against all odds and personally carry the day. In reality, however, he's nothing short of a whiny and annoying snowflake. He began complaining this week about 'presidential harassment' which was probably the funniest and most ironic thing he's ever complained about. Those mean old Democrats didn't listen to his extortion threat during his big speech, and went ahead and started investigating him anyway. Poor baby! He even tried to claim that Republicans had never done such a thing to Barack Obama, which made it all the more hilarious (at least, to anyone who hasn't been in a coma for 10 years). And we're just starting the oversight of Trump, so it's bound to get worse -- he'll be spending a whole lot of time whining about how mean everyone is being to him in the coming months, that's my guess."


   Meanwhile, the scandals keep coming

It's really hard to even keep track anymore.

"There are so many Trump administration scandals awaiting oversight that it'll be hard to even get to them all. Just this week it was revealed that U.S. weapons sold to Saudi Arabia are being given to Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed forces in Yemen. The Saudis and the United Arab Emirates are breaking the arms sales agreements we have with them, and essentially handing over American weapons to enemy forces. In any normal administration this would be an enormous scandal (remember "Iran/Contra," for instance?), but with Trump it barely even caused a ripple, due to all the other ongoing scandals and investigations. The House committees certainly have their work cut out for them, that's for sure."


   Executive time equals not making things worse

And finally, a big silver lining needs pointing out.

"It was just revealed that since the midterm elections, Donald Trump has spent over half -- reportedly 60 percent -- of his working time doing absolutely nothing. The White House euphemistically calls this 'executive time,' but what it really means is Trump hanging out in his quarters watching cable TV and calling up his friends to chat. I thought Trump was all about not using silly 'politically correct' terms? Whatever. But when you think about it, the fact that Trump spends over half his day -- the days he's actually working, instead of off golfing, that is -- doing nothing but screaming at his television set is actually pretty reassuring. Because if he's watching cable then what he isn't doing is screwing things up further. I mean, when you get right down to it, every minute Trump spends not at his desk is a minute when he's not making things worse. So maybe he should up his executive time to 70 or 80 percent of his day?"

-- Chris Weigant


All-time award winners leaderboard, by rank
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


31 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Trump's Big Speech, And A Virginia Meltdown”

  1. [1] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Oh, cmon Cris, he could do 90, most certainly. Just cut out the admiration sessions in the afternoon. Don't need the cabinet, anyway.

    Great column. I'm seeing some cross-fire about the new presidential candidates already. Only about a year-and-a-half away now!

  2. [2] 
    neilm wrote:

    Trump might be loafing around, but he better hope his lawyers are pulling 80-hour-weeks on his behalf for the next two years.

    The investigations are starting up, and a flashlight is going to shone into the places Trump wants kept dark. He isn't going to like it.

    Plus the sealed Mueller document has to be putting the shivers into the West Wing.

    Plus the SDNY investigation into the inaugural non-profit is already highlighting some shenanigans. One of Melania's assistants warned that the excessive fees would look bad in an audit.

  3. [3] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "He's in the same position a lot of Democrats now find themselves- after having previously benefited from big donors, they've now got to try to position themselves as purely small-donor candidates, now that the rank-and-file voters' mood has changed so much."

    It's not as simple as that- and at the same time really simple.

    They've now got to try to position themselves as purely small-donor candidates while still taking Big Money. That's not all that simple.

    It takes claims like the average contribution is 27 dollars to imply small donors and hoping the media doesn't point out that many of the contributors make multiple contributions and the AGGREGATE contributions of those donors whose contributions may average 27 dollars are up to the legal limit.

    I remember one columnist that wrote aboot Beto O'Rourke claiming 40 dollar average contributions and transposed the 800,000 or so contributions to 800,000 or so contributors in an article and never acknowledged the mistake(?).

    But you have acknowledged a change in the way voters view small contribution candidates and that candidates want to position themselves as purely small donor candidates.

    Looks like it's time to define what a small-donor/contribution candidate is. I suggest two hundred dollars in aggregate contributions per election (primary/ general).

    BTW- Credit where credit is due- even if it wasn't intentional. Small donor candidate is a better way to
    describe the candidates because it makes it aboot the donor (and the aggregate contributions) and not the contributions that can average as little as 27 dollars but total up to the legal limit.

    Thank you.

    There is a simple way for candidates to position themselves as purely small-donor candidates. Make the One Demand commitment to run a purely small-donor campaign.

    As you have acknowledged that the rank-and-file voters' mood has changed so much and clearly implied that the change is that they want small-donor candidates, perhaps it is time to finally inform them aboot One Demand which has been offering a way to achieve that goal long before they realized they wanted it.

    And unlike many other things in the political world now, what these candidate did 20 or 30 years ago or even in the last election cycle regarding small donors campaigns will not necessarily disqualify a candidate that makes the commitment now and moving forward.

  4. [4] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Re TP#3 (Trumps' image)

    Where in hell could ANYBODY ever have come up with the "Hairychested counterpuncher" image?.

    My image of trump (which I vociferously enunciated to his telephone fundraisers at least a dozen times during the campaigh), was that he was a "Show-boating dishonest crook of a businessman/third rate reality TV host/world-class asshole of a human being".

    Where were you guys looking to come up with your image???

  5. [5] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Stucki [4]

    MAGATs, of course.

  6. [6] 
    Paula wrote:

    Elizabeth Warren gave a terrific speech today officially launching her candidacy.

    She is going bold, pushing for structural change and there wasn't a thing she said I disagreed with.

    Her challenge will be the stupid Native American fake-scandal - she will need to find a way to effectively counter it. As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue but her enemies will push it as far as they can.

    Jamie Bouie had a piece in NYTimes yesterday where he said:

    If there’s a major division within Democratic politics, it’s between those who confront and those who seek to accommodate. Because we lack a varied vocabulary in mainstream political discourse, we call the latter “moderates” or “centrists,” which doesn’t capture the dynamic at work. (

    Liz Warren is a confronter and that's what I'm looking for in the candidates. Among other highlights she said words to the effect of: After Trump it's not enough to better manage a broken system. That's the distinction between the confronters and accommodators.

    Don't know who will win the nomination or who I'll want to win, yet, but I do think she's set a high bar and others will need to meet/exceed it.

  7. [7] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula Your [6]

    Re " .. the stupid Native American fake-scandal..", shouldn't that read "the fake Native American scandal?

    It's the Native American that's fake, not the scandal!

    The woman has consistently lied about her ethnicity to further her career by taking advantage of employers' desire to demonstrate their eagerness to hire minorities in their gov't reporting.

    Would you be so tolerant of deception of that magnitude in a Republican candidate?

  8. [8] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    P.S. It's worth noting the the real Native Americans are condemning her over her duplicity. You might even say she's got them 'on the warpath' over it!

  9. [9] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Didn't see Elizabeth Warren's speech, but if she said something to the effect of 'After Trump it's not enough to better manage a broken system' I would agree.

    It is, after all, what I have been saying since before Trump and it's good that Elizabeth Warren and Paula have now adopted the same position.

    Let's hope CW does not remain too far behind.

    And we'll see if Elizabeth Warren is willing to confront or accommodate the Big Money donors.

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    warren is part native, just not enough for tribal membership. the whole public dna test thing was a poor way of handling the criticism, but i agree with paula that it's better to have someone who confronts their critics head-on than someone who tries to "get along" with people who are only interested in getting one over.

  11. [11] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    As for the fake Native American vs. the fake controversy, claiming ancestry is different than claiming to be mostly any race.

    The controversy is much ado aboot nothing.

    What is the rule if there is one for how much of something you have to be to claim to be one?

    Can someone with two white, one asian and one black grandparent claim to be black or asian or must they be considered white?

    It was a mistake to make the claim on the Texas bar form, but it doesn't reach the level of blackface.

    It barely reaches the level of turning her paleface into somewhere between 1/64th and 1/1024th redskin. :D

  12. [12] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Don Q, er, I mean H

    Sorry, this is much ado about something!

    There is no comparability between black face and claiming false ethnicity. The blackfacers were not pretending to be black, nor were they seeking to deceive for personal gain.

    Blackface is evidence of racial insensitivity, claiming false ethnicity to qualify for employment is evidence of dishonesty.

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    [10] nypoet: "... it's better to have someone who confronts their critics head-on than someone who tries to "get along" with people who are only interested in getting one over."


  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    calling blackface "racial insensitivity" is like calling holocaust denial "religious intolerance"

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Her challenge will be the stupid Native American fake-scandal - she will need to find a way to effectively counter it. As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue but her enemies will push it as far as they can.

    Well, it will be a real issue. There is a way to counter it.

    She could start talking about the Native American experience in America in terms that most Americans, I would guess, have little knowledge of. She could increase public awareness about this and how Native Americans make America great.

  16. [16] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M

    I live in close proximity, and in younger years, worked alongside Native Americans. I admire them, but the sad truth is, "the Native American experience in America" to which you refer is, with few exceptions, not a happy one.

    Maybe you could cite a few of the examples which you feel Warren could use to "increase public awareness of how Native Americans make America great".

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Shocking, positively shocking.

  18. [18] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M

    When Warren takes your suggestions, and cites the ways by which Native Americans "make America great", how will that absolve her of her dishonesty in falsely claiming to be one herself??

    I don't see the connection.

  19. [19] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    calling blackface "racial insensitivity" is like calling holocaust denial "religious intolerance"

    Calling it “blackface” when it is done out of admiration for a performer, not to mock them, is ignorance of actual discriminations that deserve our focus far more than this! (Don’t think Northam loved Michael Jackson? His wife had to stop him from Moonwalking in response to a reporter that questioned his story.).

    Black makeup is not naturally hateful. A large number of Americans have no memory of ever seeing the minstrel acts that mocked an entire race. Unless we take the time to understand the context behind someone wearing black makeup on their face, we risk harming those that do not deserve our scorn.

    Signed: A guy who got called a “racist” and “bigot” and was physically threatened by complete strangers when he went to a costume party as a chimney sweep!

  20. [20] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    [7] CRS

    The woman has consistently lied about her ethnicity to further her career by taking advantage of employers' desire to demonstrate their eagerness to hire minorities in their gov't reporting.

    First off, let's suppose she actually was a bona-fide Cherokee in everybody's book. Would you instead say about this alternate universe Candidate Warren:

    "The woman has consistently used her ethnicity to further her career by taking advantage of employers' desire to demonstrate their eagerness to hire minorities in their gov't reporting."

    ? Because if you feel that the whole program is just a scam to begin with, there's no need to waste valuable time arguing over who is being a liar or not on the application forms.

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    there comes a point at which ignorance stops being a reasonable defense. regardless of whether or not we believe gov northam was being honest in his apology and retroactive denial, he handled the situation very badly - i don't think that much can be denied.


  22. [22] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    Obviously, hiring-systems criteria that promote ethnicity, skin color, etc over merit, definitely qualify as at least 'misguided', if not "scams", but I don't see that plain fact of life as absolution for dishonesty.

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    as much as it pains me, in this case i mostly agree with you. even if i had incontrovertible proof of a native ancestor five or six generations back, i certainly wouldn't have claimed native heritage on any official forms, as senator warren did on her texas bar registration. first peoples have very strict rules about that stuff, and she should have known that (or if she didn't know initially, she should have at least looked it up and apologized for it much sooner than she did).

    maybe warren benefited from people's misconception that she was a native american. maybe not - that part is not proven. however, given her strong stances on consumer protection from fraud and exploitation via securities markets, her past failure to treat honestly with the matter of her personal heritage is very unfortunate.


  24. [24] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    Yeah, I totally get that, it's absolutely hell when any Weigantian is forced to agree with a reprobate of my dimension!

    Actually, her bogus claim of NA ethnicity at Harvard was the most egregious of her deceptions. Although "not proven", I believe it literally got her hired.

    Dunno about that "First peoples have very strict rules . ." thing. I personally knew a 100% paleface guy at work back in the 70's who married a girl who lived on the adjacent reservation and was an enrolled member of the tribe. I never asked Jeff about her % if NA blood, but my guess would have been at most, one NA grandparent out of four. At any rate he was more than happy to accept tribal membership for his kids, because it comes with free medical and dental, and how much more I would not know.

    But NA heritage aside, my objections to Warren have to do with her politics, or really her economics. According to her, there is no such thing as an honest banker. If the bank approves a loan to somebody with bad credit/no credit, that's "predatory lending", but if the bank denies the loan, that's "discrimination" or "redlining". The poor banker ain't got a chance!

  25. [25] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I have to say that most people get genetic ancestry all wrong. It's not a branching tree,although it's easier to record it that way on paper, its more like the Nile Delta. Streams diverge and reconnect, branch again and so on thru time. Some streams dry up = go extinct. You can call re-connection inbreeding if you like.

    I'm a living example of well documented re-connection: I share my ancestral surname (on both maternal and paternal sides) with about 50,000 other known living individuals, the majority of whom live in the the USA and got there via New York City in the late 19th or early 20th century. My parents were probably about 4th or 5th cousins.

    Most of these immigrants came from Central Europe, but the oldest recorded connections to Europe radiate from the 12th century Middle East via Italy. Mama Mia! We're Italian - in at least some small fraction. Very few people in my branch of the family are aware of this Italian connection. My genetic connection to Italy is probably about as significant as Warren's Native American connection is. It's a fun fact, but nothing more.

    I may also have a significant amount of British DNA, my maternal great grandfather lived in White Chapel (his English had a Cockney-Latviation accent) and married there before catching a steamer to NYC around the time of The Ripper. Not much is known about my maternal great grandmother, but my nieces and nephews are swabbing their gums in hopes of finding out.

  26. [26] 
    neilm wrote:

    I think the Warren candidacy will be a really good thing for Democratic causes in 2020. I don't believe she will win the nomination, but as long as she holds in she gets to move the Overton Window to the left, while at the same time the right will be calling her "Pocahontas" and other names.

    Thus the right wing's attack on Warren policies will be led by attacking her rather than her ideas, giving cover for other Democrats to follow her to the left but not attract the flack.

    I also think that the Republican press and Trump in particular will overplay their hand on this and elicit sympathy for her, particularly when they will be ignoring a laundry list of criminal actions on the part of Trump and his family that the Democrats are starting to develop.

    For everybody who thinks Trump's tax returns should be released immediately, I propose that a far better approach would be a long process, with "caution" over potential "legal issues" (which Trump's lawyers will eagerly supply, playing into the Democrats tactics), culminating in a frenzy of media bed-wetting and then a series of revelations starting in September 2020 and coming out in more and more lurid detail until November 2020.

    I'd advocate that this strategy be used for all the investigations, rolling them out one after another from early 2020 until the election. Look at the hay that Republicans made from Hillary's email server - a "crime" that most of the Trump family and Trump himself (unprotected phone and all) are guilty of. The Democrats have real crimes to expose.

    This will be one of the dirtiest elections of all time because Trump is going to come under more and more exposure, and the Republicans are going to try to manufacture "whataboutism" responses.

  27. [27] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    how awful that those poor, poor bankers are expected to loan money to most people who are good risks, and not loan money to most people who are bad risks. next thing some senator will be demanding that they walk and chew gum at the same time. oh, the horror.

    not exactly new information that 1/4 native is well within most tribal rules, by marriage included. growing up and living as part of the nation also counts.

    as to warren's employment, boston globe did a big investigation into it, and it turned out nobody at harvard knew anything about warren's claims of native heritage until well after she'd already been working there. thus, my disappointment is reserved for the senator for shooting herself in the moccasins. you my friend, reprobate or no, are frankly not that important.


  28. [28] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    If my former colleague's wife is 1/4 NA, then their kids (the objects of my comment on tribal membership qualifications) would be 1/8th, right?

    Wow, no less than the Boston Globe affirms that Warren's lies never advanced her career at Harvard! Who could ever wonder about the veracity of their claims??

    Anyway, with Larry Summers as treir head honcho, it's a foregone conclusion that nobody in administration would ever read their prospective faculty hire's application forms.

  29. [29] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    P.S. You've got the "poor banker" thing wrong too Do I write poorly or do you read poorly?

    I clearly pointed out the fact that prior to the financial crash Warren (along with Chris Dodd and Barney Frank) expected the bankers to loan mortgage money to ALL people, especially poor people/bad credit people, because as long as the price of housing rose in perpetuity, there was "no risk".

    Then, when it turned out there was indeed 'risk', she excoriated them for "predatory lending"!

    Do you really see no conflict/inconsistency there?

  30. [30] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula [6] -

    That sounds like an interesting NYT piece, I will check it out. Sounds like a much better way of looking at what is going on with Democrats than trying to squeeze it into an outdated model, that's for sure! Thanks for the link.

    neilm [26] -

    Excellent points all around. Especially the bit about the Overton Window. Bernie moved it drastically, Warren continues to help it move, and others will pick up this mantle.

    What progressives fail to adequately communicate is to pushback on the "far-left" or "radical left" label. One woman commentator on ABC's Sunday morning show did so, and I actually cheered. She said something along the lines of:

    "You call all this stuff 'far left' but when you break it down to individual ideas, they all have huge support among the public. Things like raising the minimum wage poll at 70 percent or above. Raising taxes on the wealthy polls at a similiar rate. When 7 in 10 people agree with you, you are not 'far' anything. That is the very definition of the mainstream of American politics, in fact. The politicians may not be there and call Democrats who support these things 'far left' but if that's true then most of the country is actually 'far left'."

    As for the discussion of the Warren ancestry thing, are we really about to leap into using "quadroon" and "octoroon" language? Seriously? Sigh.



  31. [31] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    the newer language is blood quantum, and it's less important than culture and contact. if you grow up with the tribe, it doesn't matter who your great great grandparents were.

Comments for this article are closed.