ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles for January, 2020

Lightbulbs And Dishwashers And Toilets, Oh My!

[ Posted Thursday, January 16th, 2020 – 17:43 UTC ]

I have to begin with an apology to The Wizard Of Oz for that title. But somehow it seemed appropriate in the latest of the so-called "culture wars." Because I think most everyone is missing the point about Donald Trump's newfound focus on household appliances.

Read Complete Article »

Two Amusing/Horrifying Suggestions To Update The Debate Format

[ Posted Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 17:44 UTC ]

While reading everyone else's take on last night's debate, I came across an interesting idea. Actually, two of them, but they're closely related, both being suggestions for how the debate format might be changed from what we saw last night to improve it for everyone. The first suggestion was an incremental one: since there are now fewer candidates, give each of them longer answer segments -- anywhere from two to five minutes. That makes a lot of sense now that there are only six of them on stage. But the reaction that really spurred my thinking came from Larry Sabato, who wrote in Politico the following suggestion:

Read Complete Article »

Snap Reactions To The Seventh Democratic Debate

[ Posted Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 00:12 UTC ]

To use a sports metaphor, we're right at the end of the pre-season and about to start the actual games that count. Tonight was the last presidential debate between the Democratic candidates before Iowa votes in its caucuses. From now on, in each subsequent debate, we'll know not just who is up in the public opinion polling, but who has done better at the actual polls, where voters cast their ballots for the Democratic nomination.

Read Complete Article »

Warren-Sanders Spat Wildly Overblown

[ Posted Monday, January 13th, 2020 – 18:21 UTC ]

As you may have heard, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are now locked in a political deathmatch, trading body blows and viciously attacking each other. Except for the fact that this isn't really true, of course. But the media loves confrontation, so when there isn't much to work with, they just hype the heck out of whatever thin reeds they have available.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points -- The Madman Theory, Personified

[ Posted Friday, January 10th, 2020 – 18:29 UTC ]

We've said it before and we're sure we'll have to say it again before the year's out, but President Trump is the personification of what Richard Nixon used to call the "Madman Theory" of foreign policy. Back then, it was a bluff -- if Nixon acted crazy enough, then perhaps the North Vietnamese would think he was so crazy he might just drop a nuclear bomb on them. This would tend to restrain them more than if they were sure he wouldn't.

Read Complete Article »

Precedent Trump

[ Posted Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 18:23 UTC ]

Today, I'd like to step back from a day-to-day analysis of Donald Trump's actions in order to look at a slightly bigger picture. Because at this point, it almost seems like we should all start calling him "Precedent Trump," since he is setting so many of them for future presidents to either use or abuse at will. Republicans who now slavishly insist upon supporting anything and everything Trump does -- no matter how outrageous, no matter how disruptive -- should be warned that future presidents (Democratic ones most definitely included) may one day point to current GOP behavior while insisting that they have exactly the same rights that Trump has claimed for himself. Because this is always the ultimate test of supporting any expansion of presidential powers: would you support a president of the other party doing such a thing? Again, Republicans would do well to consider this in the Trump era, because it's my guess that some of these precedents are going to come back to bite them later on. And it'll be pretty tough for them to argue against these precedents after so wholeheartedly supporting them now.

Read Complete Article »

Looking Forward To A Democratic Foreign Policy Debate

[ Posted Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 – 18:14 UTC ]

The next Democratic presidential debate is going to almost have to focus intensely on questions of foreign policy. No matter what anyone had planned previously, the situation almost demands it now. So far, the debates have been remarkably light on foreign policy, which has allowed almost all the candidates to utter platitudes about the type of world they'd like to see as president, without delving too far into any specifics about what they'd do as president at all (except perhaps on minor differences between the candidates' policies). This is no longer good enough, as we all wait to see what happens next with Iran.

Read Complete Article »

The Staying Power Of Biden And Bernie

[ Posted Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 – 17:46 UTC ]

At the start of the Democratic presidential primary season, some pundits latched onto what they considered a fun way to label how the race was shaping up -- the "killer Bs." You had [Joe] Biden, Beto [O'Rourke], [Cory] Booker, Bernie [Sanders], [Michael] Bennet, [Steve] Bullock, and even [Pete] Buttigieg. That's a lot of Bs, to be sure (a whole hive, maybe?), and it's not even the full list. It was also (as you can tell) a fairly silly way to frame the race, but whatever. The funny thing is, with less than a month to go before the first votes are cast, we've still got a swarm of Bs. Four of the top five candidates still qualify: Biden, Bernie, Buttigieg, and newcomer [Michael] Bloomberg. The only odd woman out is Elizabeth Warren, although it wouldn't surprise me if some pundits started trying to call her "Beth," just to fit her into this strained metaphor.

Read Complete Article »

Today's Two Big Stories

[ Posted Monday, January 6th, 2020 – 18:26 UTC ]

There are two major stories in the political world today, without a whole lot of overlap. They both have foreign policy in common, and the outcome of both is unpredictable at this point. Other than that they are entirely separate stories, so we're going to handle them separately rather than trying to tie them together in any way. The bigger story by far is Donald Trump's assassination of a major Iranian military figure as well as an Iraqi militia leader. This could have far-reaching consequences across the Middle East, obviously. The second story is that John Bolton is apparently ready to spill the beans on Trump, as long as the Senate "forces" him to by issuing a subpoena.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points -- On The Brink

[ Posted Friday, January 3rd, 2020 – 18:23 UTC ]

As we sit down to write this, America is on the brink... of a lot of things, all at once. Largest among these: we are now on the brink of another war in the Middle East, this time with Iran. We could also be on the brink of a North Korean nuclear test or I.C.B.M. launch, which would probably signal a disastrous end to the Trump diplomatic bromance with Kim Jong Un. We're on the brink of a presidential impeachment trial in the Senate -- only the third one in our entire history. We're on the brink of a presidential primary season. And we're on the brink of a new political decade. All are pretty momentous, meaning that 2020 could turn out to be even more chaotic than the three years which preceded it. There's a scary (or just plain exhausting) thought, indeed.

Read Complete Article »