Friday Talking Points -- Happy Independence Day!

[ Posted Friday, July 2nd, 2021 – 17:57 UTC ]

Happy Independence Day! No, that heartfelt wish is actually not premature, as we pointed out years ago. The second of July is indeed the day American declared her independence from Britain. All the histories, all the traditions, all the celebrations get it wrong each and every year. No, really!

Here is what John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, on the third of July, 1776:

The second of July 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.

So, as we said: Happy Independence Day, everyone!

This week was a fairly quiet one politically, as the Senate was already off on their extended vacation all week, and the House followed as quickly as they could, after one very important vote was held.

President Joe Biden began the week by having to walk back his comments about tying the bipartisan infrastructure deal he had just hammered out with Senate Republicans to a fully-expected Democrats-only bill which will accomplish most of the rest of his economic agenda. Republicans were in such a tizzy that Joe decided to appease them and -- astonishingly enough -- his outreach actually worked! By Sunday morning, most of them were mollified. Well, mollified enough to at least not badmouth Biden on the political shows.

Biden even signed his name to an opinion piece which ran in Yahoo News, which began:

I have always believed that there is nothing our nation can't do when we decide to do it together. Last week, we began to write a new chapter in that story.

After weeks of negotiations, a bipartisan group of United States senators forged an agreement to move forward on key portions of my American Jobs Plan -- a once-in-a-generation investment to modernize our infrastructure that will create millions of good-paying jobs and position America to compete with the world and win the 21st century.

The Infrastructure Deal is part of my economic strategy that, taken as a whole, will help create millions of jobs for years to come and add trillions of dollars in economic growth. According to one study of my Jobs Plan, nearly 90 percent of the jobs it will create won't require a college degree, and 75 percent won't require an associate's degree. It's a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.

The whole thing is a pretty good rundown of some of the best items contained within the deal, so it's worth a read. Our only comment would be to (please, Joe!) get back to normal capitalization rules for United States presidents, after four years of Trumpian nonsense. "The Infrastructure Deal"... really? OK, sorry for being pedantic, but we truly had believed we were completely out of those particular woods.

Biden also generated some good news by announcing the formalization of a process begun before he even took office. By next January, "surprise billing" for medical emergencies will hopefully become a thing of the past. This is an enormous deal, and represents a real strengthening of the changes made by Obamacare, in terms of putting patients first:

The Biden administration issued rules Thursday to shield Americans from large, unexpected medical bills after patients wind up in emergency rooms or receive other care they did not realize lay outside their insurance networks.

The rules, to begin in January, are the first in a series of coordinated steps that four federal agencies are required to take to set in motion a law Congress adopted last year to protect health-care consumers against a practice known as surprise billing.

Thursday's rules spell out that, if a health plan provides for any emergency services, those services must be covered without requiring permission from an insurer ahead of time.

And no matter whether the emergency room or its doctors are part of the insurer's network, patients may not be charged more for emergency care or air ambulances than if those services were given by providers in the insurer's network. Patients cannot be billed, in other words, for the difference between what the hospital charges and what an insurance company pays for out-of-network care.

. . .

About two-thirds of U.S. adults said they were very or somewhat worried about being able to afford large bills from a health-care provider outside their insurance network, according to polling earlier this year by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care policy group.

Worry about such bills exceeds concerns about affording prescription drugs or other parts of their health insurance, such as deductibles or monthly premiums, Kaiser's survey shows.

Other Kaiser data, published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that 1 in 5 insured adults had received an unexpectedly high medical bill from an out-of-network provider of care in the previous two years.

A 2019 study by the federal Government Accountability Office found that about 7 in 10 trips by air ambulances -- conveying to hospitals seriously ill patients who seldom choose which company to call -- were outside the patients' insurance networks. Typical prices for a trip were $36,000 to $40,000, according to data the study examined.

So this really is no small thing, and will be a welcome relief to millions when it is actually instituted, six months from now.

At the end of the week, Biden got a surprisingly good jobs report, which showed a dramatic upswing in the number of new hires in June. This isn't too surprising when you consider that both New York and California dropped all COVID-19 restrictions and went back to business as usual once again. New York and California combined represent a major percentage of the country's population, so of course that is going to impact the national numbers, but June's report comes on the heels of two rather disappointing months, so it was indeed a relief for all to see.

Perhaps this is why even Fox News had to report that their own polling showed Biden now enjoys a 56 percent job approval rating with the public. That's almost 10 points higher than Donald Trump ever managed, it bears mentioning.

Trump's poll numbers continue to slide in general, even if most Washington Republicans haven't yet totally gotten the memo.

Polling also shows Trump's influence is eroding among Republicans. The GOP polling firm Echelon Insights conducts a monthly national poll and has tracked since mid-2020 whether Republican voters say they are more of a Trump supporter or more of a party backer. In October of last year, 59 percent of Republicans said they were more of a Trump supporter, while only 30 percent said they were primarily a Republican. That's now flipped: This month, 53 percent of respondents said they were primarily a Republican, while only 38 percent said they were more of a Trump backer.

That's a pretty major reversal, in a fairly short period of time. But it's not just the Republican base who is giving Trump low marks, it is also historians:

Barack Obama moved his way up into the top 10 of C-SPAN's presidential leadership survey for the first time this year, while Donald Trump clocked in at 41st on the list, months after the end of his term in office.

C-SPAN released the rankings from its Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership, which is taken after each presidential transition, on Wednesday. This survey marks Trump's first appearance on the list, on which the one-term president placed higher than only three other presidents: Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson and the perpetually last-ranked James Buchanan.

Sounds about right, to us.

Maybe some are beginning to realize how toxic Trump has become. He wants to hold rallies in Florida and Alabama, but he just got turned down in Alabama and the governor of Florida (normally a strong Trump supporter) has been discouraging Trump from holding his Florida rallies, by appealing to Trump's non-existent humanity (over how unseemly it would be while they are still pulling bodies from the wreckage of a building elsewhere in the state). Of course, Trump doesn't care about bad optics like this (or the concept of appearing inhumane), so the rally will probably go forward anyway.

And our final Trump news this week was the announcement of the indictment of the Trump Organization and Trump's own chief financial officer, on 15 counts. Many are nitpicking over this legal strategy (mostly from those who dearly wish to see Trump himself frogmarched through a perp walk in handcuffs), but we are more sanguine. This (we think) is just the tip of the iceberg. More indictments will follow. The indictment already makes mention of "unindicted co-conspirator #1," who is assumably Trump himself. The charges are a little legal hardball intended to get Trump's right-hand man to flip on him, and (hopefully) to classify the Trump Organization a "corrupt organization" -- which would open the door to all sorts of RICO Act charges (it's the "CO" in "RICO," after all). So we're willing to give the prosecutors the benefit of the doubt, for now.

What else is going on, before we move on to the awards? California announced a very early date (September 14) for the upcoming recall election, but we're pretty confident that Governor Gavin Newsom will survive it without any trouble whatsoever (although we will indeed make the effort to vote, when it rolls around, have no fear). The entire pointless exercise is going to cost the state's taxpayers $276 million, which might better be spent by piling up 276 million dollar bills and lighting it on fire to celebrate Independence Day. It'd certainly be more spectacular, that's for sure. After all, John Adams specifically mentioned "bonfires" as a proper method of celebration, right?

And fighting it out for the weirdest story of the week was the release of an official government report on U.F.O.s, which essentially concluded: "Well, there's something there... might be alien... but then again, maybe not..." which wasn't very satisfactory for those looking for more definitive answers, but will have to do for now. At least they're admitting this stuff now, which is indeed an improvement.

But probably weirder than that was seeing the headline: "Gaetz Invites Britney Spears To Testify Before Congress." Seriously, has anyone sat Matt Gaetz down and explained to him that Britney's no longer an underage teenager? (OK, we couldn't resist that one, sorry.)


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We have one quick Honorable Mention award to hand out this week, to President Joe Biden. He went to the scene of the horrific building collapse in Florida, and performed the traditional "consoler-in-chief" duties admirably well.

This is such a normal part of any president's duties it wouldn't even usually be worth mentioning, but after the past four years of Donald Trump tossing paper towels to crowds or telling a homeowner devastated by a hurricane that the giant boat which is now resting in his backyard is a good thing (because Trump mistakenly thought it meant the guy got to keep the boat). So it was indeed a relief to see a return to normalcy in this department as well -- and while any decent president (all those not named "Donald Trump," if that was too subtle for you) should be fully capable of consoling disaster victims, Biden is better at it than most due to the numerous personal tragedies he has had to endure in his own life.

But this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week is none other than Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She successfully passed a measure which created a House select committee on the 1/6 insurrection, and she then guaranteed there will be at least a tiny bit of bipartisan support for the idea by naming Republican Liz Cheney to sit on the new committee.

Pelosi also named seven Democrats to serve on the committee as well: Pete Aguilar, Zoe Lofgren, Elaine Luria, Stephanie Murphy, Jamie Raskin, Adam Schiff, and Bennie Thompson (who will chair the committee). Pelosi had eight picks for the 13 total committee seats, so even after giving one of them to Cheney, Democrats will still hold a firm majority.

Cheney was honored to serve, since she is not only a huge critic of Donald Trump's actions that day (and since), but she also is one of the few Republicans who takes seriously her oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

By naming Cheney, Pelosi opened the committee in a spirit of bipartisanship.

Now the ball is in Kevin McCarthy's court. He is supposed to suggest the other five names, but Pelosi has full veto power over any or all of them. The only indication he's made so far is that he'll retaliate against any Republican who dares serve on the committee. This is pretty ridiculous, and was likely designed to deter Cheney from instantly accepting. Now that she has, McCarthy has to figure out what to do next. He could try to pack the committee's Republican side with fierce pro-Trump "own the libs" fire-breathers from his own party's ranks, or he could instead suggest reasonable and level-headed individuals who will dedicate themselves to finding out the truth.

Personally, we know which outcome we'd bet on. McCarthy may even try to dodge the issue altogether by just petulantly refusing to name anyone, which would leave Pelosi free to put anyone else she wants on it. There is a second reasonable Republican who actually voted to form the committee (Adam Kinzinger), so assumably he'd wind up with a seat as well, should McCarthy totally punt. But there's nothing to stop Pelosi from just naming other Democrats to fill the committee, or at the very least naming Republicans who refused to vote to decertify the election's results on the sixth of January.

So far, she's been handling the whole situation masterfully. So we're pretty confident that no matter what happens, her opening move to name Cheney is going to wind up looking pretty brilliant in hindsight. Which is why we had to give her our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award this week.

[Congratulate Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on her official contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

This week, we have a group award, for all the Democrats on the New York City Board Of Elections.

The city held its mayoral primaries recently, and for the first time they used a "ranked-choice voting" system. Other places have moved to this form of ballot already (Maine, the city of San Francisco) without disruption. But if there's one election which needs to go off without a hitch, it is always the first election under a new system.

And this week, the elections board failed miserably:

The whole world got a chance to see on Tuesday what New York City residents already knew: The city's Board of Elections is dysfunctional.

New York state's Constitution requires local election authorities to be run by political appointees from both major political parties.

That means that the county-level Democratic and Republican parties in each county in the state appoint an equal number of people to lead -- and manage -- local election authorities.

Virtually every other state in the country has independent, nonpartisan technocrats run their elections.

The result, in New York state in general, and New York City in particular, has been chronic mismanagement and a series of embarrassing scandals that culminated in Tuesday's revelation of incorrect results. The NYC Board of Elections accidentally published preliminary ranked-choice voting results for the Democratic mayoral primary that included 135,000 test ballots, rescinded them, and posted new ones on Wednesday.

"There's a fundamental problem having partisan boards of elections," said Jerry Goldfeder, a Democratic elections attorney. "An independent, professional operation would serve the people of New York much better."

The Board of Elections' errors and political shenanigans are nothing new.

In 2012, for example, the board botched the results of an upper Manhattan congressional primary by initially omitting votes in precincts more favorable to the ultimate winner, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D). And ahead of the 2016 presidential primary, the board admitted to illegally purging some 200,000 registered Democrats from the voter rolls -- a sin it promised to remedy, but never fully explained.

And due to lack of preparation for the unprecedented influx of mail-in ballots, the board disqualified more than 84,000 mail-in ballots in the June 2020 Democratic presidential and congressional primaries on technical grounds like the lack of a postmark from the post office.

There is wide agreement that the lack of a premium on technical expertise, and reliance instead on well-connected party officials' friends and family members to fill key roles is to blame for the disfunction [sic]. Staffers at the NYC Board of Elections routinely clock in and leave for the gym, smoke marijuana on the job or use their working hours to watch Netflix, according to a New York Times investigation in October. Patronage extends into the ranks of computer programmers, where Ruben Díaz III, the son of Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz Jr., holds a job.

Mike Ryan, the current executive director of the board, went on medical leave months ago. He entrusted the agency's management to Dawn Sandow, a Bronx Republican appointee, who lacks experience overseeing elections, and who was called a "disaster" as interim leader by a source in the New York Post.

They also released results before all the votes were counted, before any absentee ballots had been counted.

This is not the way to inspire confidence, folks. Especially with a brand-new system in place. For screwing up so badly, we have to award our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award collectively to all the Democrats on the New York City Board Of Elections. Maybe it's time to think about changing that system too, eh?

[Contact the Board Of Elections In The City Of New York on their official contact page, to let the Democrats on it know what you think of their actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 625 (7/2/21)

Before we begin, we have a warning: there will be no new Friday Talking Points column next Friday. We are taking the day off. We'll try to post some sort of re-run column, but we won't return to original columns until July 16.

We also have to note the passing of Senator Mike Gravel, who we remember as a gadfly presidential candidate but those who are older probably remember for reading the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record, back when that was a very daring thing to do.

We remember him most for the easy and polite access his campaign team showed us when, at the dawn of our blogging career, we put together a series of speech transcripts from all the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates. Here is Senator Gravel's speech from this series, titled: "Stepping Back From Imperialism: Redirecting American Foreign Policy."

In any case, rest in peace, Senator Gravel.

This week is a bit unusual, since what we wrote in lieu of discrete talking points isn't exactly a rant, but does focus on only one or two points Democrats should really be making right about now. Republicans are trying to have things both ways on what used to be two core issues for them (supporting the police and the military), and this hypocrisy needs to be pointed out. Forcefully. So we attempted to do so, because this is precisely the type of thing Democrats should be saying to further erode Republican voter support in the suburbs.


An Independence Day Message For Democrats

All the politicians are already on vacation, but we're assuming that for the rest of us it won't begin until work is over today. But since Democratic politicians got a head-start, perhaps they've had enough time to settle on a political message for this Independence Day weekend. The best suggestion, at this point, would be: "The Republican Party now stands foursquare for refusing to honor or even fund the police, and now they seem to think the military should be hired out to the highest bidder. Personally, it'd be hard to think of anything more anti-American than that, unless you count willfully ignoring and actively covering up an insurrection attempt led by a sitting president -- which Republicans are also busily doing."

Think that's too harsh? We don't. We think it is entirely deserved, in fact.

Consider the following: Every Republican in the House of Representatives (except two) voted this week against forming a select committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection. Earlier, Republicans in the Senate quashed a bill that would have formed an independent and non-partisan special commission to perform this investigation. It's pretty clear that Republicans are just not interested in investigating the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814 (although they were perfectly willing to launch investigation after investigation into Benghazi, when they were in power).

Earlier this month, 21 House Republicans voted against honoring the officers who bravely protected Congress on January 6th with a Congressional Gold Medal. The day after this shameful display, Representative Louie Gohmert delivered a floor speech where he suggested that the F.B.I. had infiltrated the violent pro-Trump mob and were actually the ones responsible for everything bad that happened. Way to support federal law enforcement, guys!

Recently, Republican Representative Paul Gosar averred during a hearing that the one of the Capitol Police officers who fought for his own safety with their lives "executed" a woman forcing her way into the chamber where House members still cowered in fear. Gosar demanded the name of the officer who pulled the trigger, whom he accused of "lying in wait" to execute her. He has previously described the insurrectionists as "peaceful patriots."

This is the same guy who was eager to join with Marjorie "Jewish Space Lasers" Taylor Greene (the craziest GOP crazy of the bunch) to form a new House caucus dedicated to "Anglo-Saxon political traditions," and was caught this week when an avowed White supremacist advertised a fundraiser where Gosar would appear to collect donations -- with a White supremacist. He's appeared with the guy before, despite the fact that the guy "has defended segregation and bemoaned the United States losing its 'white demographic core.' He has cast doubt on the millions of deaths in the Holocaust and engaged in a lengthy metaphor likening the deaths to cookies baking in an oven. He labeled the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol 'awesome' and the racist rally in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of a counterprotester 'incredible.' "

When the story first broke about the "America First" fundraiser (advertised as "authorized by Gosar for Congress Committee"), Gosar first reacted by tweeting out: "Not sure why anyone is freaking out. I'll say this: there are millions of Gen Z, Y and X conservatives. They believe in America First." Later, he tried to claim the whole thing was a mistake and there would be no fundraiser, but his initial reaction was a lot more telling.

So how has Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reacted to all of this festering within his own ranks? By turning a blind eye, that's how.

McCarthy not only refuses to punish such behavior, he won't even publicly condemn it. McCarthy was finally shamed into talking to Officer Michael Fanone, after stiff-arming him for months, which a Nancy Pelosi spokesperson pointed out in a statement:

It's troubling that it took a two-month-long public pressure campaign for Minority Leader McCarthy to meet with Officer Fanone. It's even more troubling that McCarthy refused the officer's reasonable request to publicly condemn the Members of his Conference who have attacked the heroism of those who fought off January's insurrection. McCarthy's behavior in Friday's meeting is just the latest example of House Republicans' growing contempt for police and law enforcement officers who keep us safe.

Here's how Officer Fanone expressed his disappointment that McCarthy refused to publicly denounce the lies his own Republican members have been spouting:

"[Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy] said he would address it at a personal level, with some of those members," Officer Fanone told reporters after the roughly hourlong meeting. "I think that as the leader of the House Republican Party, it's important to hear those denouncements publicly."

. . .

"I asked him to denounce the 21 House Republicans that voted against the Gold Medal bill, recognizing my co-workers and colleagues that fought to secure the Capitol on Jan. 6," Officer Fanone said. He said he had also asked that Mr. McCarthy publicly disavow a comment by Representative Andrew Clyde, Republican of Georgia, comparing the events of Jan. 6 to a Capitol tour.

"I found those remarks to be disgusting," said Officer Fanone, who was beaten unconscious and subjected to a Taser by the mob, suffering a heart attack and a brain injury. "I also asked him to publicly denounce the baseless theory that the F.B.I. was behind the Jan. 6 insurrection."

As of Friday evening, Mr. McCarthy had done none of those things.

. . .

But Officer Fanone said the Republican strategy appeared to be to try to make the public forget about the attack as the party looked to retake the House in next year's midterm elections.

"When you're that obsessed with gaining power that you're willing to trample over a bunch of police officers, that's sickening," he said in an interview.

Democrats need to be saying exactly the same thing. The Republicans' absolute refusal to defend the police and fund the police and honor brave officers is nothing short of a sickening disgrace. The Republican Party should not be allowed to politically profit off its long history of being pro-police, now that that have completely turned their coats. Democrats are the ones now defending, adequately funding, and honoring the police, not Republicans -- and they should say so.

There is even now empirical proof. As many issues-based organizations do, one that supports police officers just ranked every member of Congress on their own scale, consisting of how each member voted on all the important bills in Congress on their particular issue. And guess what it showed?

The National Association of Police Officers just released their legislative scorecard for members of Congress. Despite all the fearmongering over "Defund the police," the most liberal members of Congress had much higher scores than most Republicans. Three of the four members of the Squad (Representatives Ilhan Oman, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley) all scored 86 percent. The fourth, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, scored a bit lower, at 71 percent. Speaker Nancy Pelosi scored 80 percent, and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer scored 86 percent.

How do Republicans measure up? Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy scored 57 percent. Minority Whip Steve Scalise scored 50 percent. Other Republicans who have flung the "Defund the police" accusation at the entire Democratic Party are Jim Banks, Mo Brooks, Ken Buck, Jody Hice, and Elise Stefanik. Stefanik and Banks scored the same 57 percent that McCarthy did. The other three scored a paltry 43 percent.

Over in the Senate, Bernie Sanders scored 80 percent, while Tim Scott and Ted Cruz only managed 60 percent. Rand Paul of Kentucky is in a class by himself, at zero percent. The Washington Post article which provided all this data explains why:

The reason is simple. Democrats, at least at the federal level, have been the ones funding the police. The 2019-2021 scorecard is based on votes on health care, pensions, covid-19 relief, bulletproof vests, victim compensation and policing reform. There's not yet a scorecard of votes in the new Congress, but police groups favored the American Rescue Plan covid-relief legislation, which Republicans uniformly opposed, and President Biden wants to pump $300 million more into the COPS community policing program, which Republicans have long opposed.

. . .

Democrats ought to be saying, as Biden aide Cedric Richmond did on Fox News Sunday, "Republicans are very good at staying on talking points of who says defund the police, but the truth is, they defunded the police." Unlike GOP leadership, the numbers don't lie.

Speaking of Fox News (and of not lying, for that matter), last Sunday Chris Wallace put the rest of the Washington press corps to shame, by actually pointing this fact out, while talking to Jim Banks (who, again, scored just 57 percent, according to the pro-cop group). Here is the key exchange:

[CHRIS WALLACE:] Congressman Banks, you voted against that package, against that $350 billion, just like every other Republican in the House and Senate, so can't you make the argument that it's you and the Republicans who are defunding the police?

[CONGRESSMAN JIM BANKS:] Not at all, Chris. I mean, let's go back again and look at the last year and the record of comments that Democrats have made from Rashida Tlaib, who said that --


[WALLACE:] No, No, wait, sir, respectfully --

[BANKS:] -- policing is inherently evil.

[WALLACE:] Wait, wait, sir, respectfully, I heard you make that point but I'm asking you, there's $350 billion in this package the president says can be used for policing. And let me put up some of the specific things he said.

[BANKS:] Chris, the point that I'm making is important.

[WALLACE:] Congressman Banks, let me finish and then I promise I'll give you a chance to answer. The president is saying cities and states can use this money to hire more police officers, invest in new technologies and develop summer job training and recreation programs for young people. Respectfully, I've heard your point about the last year, but you and every other Republican voted against this $350 billion.

The article that contained this transcript snippet concluded: "Wallace never got a straight answer because there was nothing Banks could really say."

Meanwhile, the governor of South Dakota announced that she will be sending some of her state's National Guard soldiers to Texas, to help "secure the border," even though they are not remotely trained for such duties. The truly jaw-dropping part of this, however, was that a private Republican donor (a billionaire from out of state) will be footing the entire bill. This is an astonishing break with American tradition, folks:

Privately funding a military mission is an affront to civilian oversight of the armed forces, said military and oversight experts, describing the move -- a Republican governor sending troops to a Republican-led state, paid for by a Republican donor -- as likely unprecedented and unethical.

"You certainly don't want our national security priorities up to the highest bidder," said Mandy Smithberger, a defense accountability expert at the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit government watchdog.

Apparently, however, rich donors using individual states' National Guard in purely political stunts seems to be fine with Republicans. You can just imagine what they'd say if this bizarre and mercenary scheme had been dreamed up by a Democrat.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, 120 House Republicans voted against removing statues of men who had taken up arms against the forces of the United States, once again proving their bona fides to Confederate-lovers everywhere. Here's what was in the bill they all voted against:

The legislation directs the Architect of the Capitol "to remove all statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America." It specifically mentioned three men who backed slavery -- Charles B. Aycock, John C. Calhoun and James P. Clarke.

The legislation would replace the bust of [former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B.] Taney [who authored the infamous Dred Scott decision], which sits outside the old Supreme Court chamber on the Capitol's first floor, with one of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice.

The Republican Party has truly sunk to new lows -- that is really the only conclusion that can now be drawn.

They have become the party where White nationalists are welcomed. They have become the party which refuses to fund the police. They have become the party which refuses to investigate an insurrection (because they know full well how much their own party is responsible for what happened). They have become the party which refuses to honor brave police officers who defended their safety with their own bodies and lives. They have become the party where none of this goes punished, and is instead tolerated or even celebrated.

One of those brave officers put it succinctly, and Democrats would do well to repeat this quote as often as possible over the summer: "When you're that obsessed with gaining power that you're willing to trample over a bunch of police officers, that's sickening." That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Republican Party of today.

Republicans are trying to scare voters into thinking all Democrats want to fire every cop in the country. This is a lie. In fact, Democrats are the ones funding cops, over the objections of Republicans. Republicans won't even acknowledge the cops who protected them from insurrectionists as heroes. That is the difference between today's Democrats and today's Republicans when it comes to funding cops -- so don't be fooled if they try to tell you any differently, because they are lying if they do.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


40 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Happy Independence Day!”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    if only you'd titled your juneteenth column thusly...


  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm just glad that Biden didn't get another MDDOTW award. :)

  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    and also, a type-o in the second sentence?

    The second of July is indeed the day American declared her independence from Britain.

    come on, man! y'know, this would all be better with pie.


  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Bye, bye Miss American Pie ...

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    oh geez, there's more.

    For screwing up so badly, we have to award our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award collectively to all the Democrats on the New York City Board Of Elections.

    are you okay?

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think the point is that we're most decidedly NOT okay.

  7. [7] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Totally off subject: We (my SO and I) think we've come up with the right way to refer to the previous president. It's been an issue across LW media and we're looking to spread our vision.

    The LOLPE!
    The Loser of the Last Presidential Election!

  8. [8] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Was just looking at the FoxNews website… zero stories about the Trump organization and CFO being criminally charged can be found on their Politics page… zilch! On their Opinions page, their is a video of Eric Trump clutching at his pearls from yesterday at the very bottom of the page — but that’s the only one.

    Also missing from the site — no mention of the House select committee to investigate the 1/6 insurrection to be found!

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, Russ, the charges were pretty mild considering the time Cy Vance Jr. has spent investigating Trump and the fact that he has all those Trump tax returns.

    Does anyone still believe Trump is going down! Heh. There's a fantasy for ya!

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    missing from the site — no mention of the House select committee to investigate the 1/6 insurrection to be found!

    That is also instructive for Dems but, will they ever learn?

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I sure do hope that I won't be telling y'all that 'I told ya so' after the midterms ...

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If Mueller couldn't get him, probably nobody can.

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I mean, this is a reality-based column, after all, right?

  14. [14] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Congratulations, Chris! You triggered a spit take of my morning tea for your hilarious conclusion to the introductory remarks.
    'But probably weirder than that was seeing the headline: "Gaetz Invites Britney Spears To Testify Before Congress." Seriously, has anyone sat Matt Gaetz down and explained to him that Britney's no longer an underage teenager? (OK, we couldn't resist that one, sorry.)'

    Enjoy your well-deserved vacation.

  15. [15] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If Mueller couldn't get him, probably nobody can.

    Wrong. Mueller couldn't "get" Trump because of that silly so-called Justice Department memo that says you can't indict a sitting President. He explicitly said, "If we could clear home we would, y'all can indict after he leaves office."

    Trump is going down. No way Joe pulls a Gerry Ford and pardons his ass.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I'm done with Biden if he ever pardons Trump. But, I don't believe that will be necessary.

    Anyways, may I suggest a theme for tomorrow evening?

    How about a focus on our facourite Americana tunes and music from Turtle Island ...

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That was a bit hasty ... I actually, afte a lot of serious second sober thought, agree with what former FBI director said about a Trump pardon.

    But, again, don't think it will ever come to that. I'd be just as happy as a pig in mud if the former president would just go away.

  18. [18] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Good luck with that. The Big Orange Loser says that he will be making a "significant announcement" about his "efforts to protect Americans' First Amendment rights". He's lazier than Death Harris and he lies sometimes, so expect something insignificant about a new website. Don't expect him to go away until they Lock Him Up!

  19. [19] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Florida Man had planned to speak at a July 4th rally at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, but officials denied the permit because the event would be partisan and not patriotic. Cancelled!

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


  21. [21] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Florida Man keeps complaining that nobody gets prosecuted for tax evasion, but as Rachel Maddow pointed out, that's exactly what billionaire Leona "only the little people pay taxes" Helmsley went to prison for.

  22. [22] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    At one of his Klan rallies in Florida on Saturday, Florida Man explained to his death cult zombies how to trick death cult zombies. "There's a word: disinformation. If you say it enough and keep saying it, just keep saying it and they'll start to believe you."

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think that has already happened, no?

  24. [24] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Jackass from Censornati -
    Trump lies sometimes?

    Your claim that I am lazy is totally unsubstantiated.

    Just another of the many lies here in the comments about me.

    It's bad when Trump lies but it is okay for you to do it?


  25. [25] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Speaking of lies, while CW may get it right when he talks about the state of today's Republikiller Party he is lying about the state of today's Deathocratic Party.

    The difference between today's Republikiller Party and today's Deathocratic Party is that the Deathocrats pretend to be on the side of ordinary citizens while they work for the big money interests while the Reupblikillers do a different kind of pretending for their base.

    Stop pretending the Deathocrats are the good guys because decades of not being the good guys shows that you are lying when you do it or just incredibly gullible.

  26. [26] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Death Harris,

    Trump lies sometimes?

    Yes, but probably not as often as you do.

  27. [27] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Also, Elizabeth, this tax fraud indictment is clearly designed to incentivize Weisselberg to "flip" on the big fish, Trump.

    Relax. This is simply the opening salvo.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Keep hoping, Caddy, keep hoping ... :)

  29. [29] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    There's no need for "hope."

    Matter of time, my Dear. Trump has pissed off way too many people on this planet to just walk away, scot free.

    I'll go out on a limb and predict that Trump will die before all is said and done. Putin cannot let it get out that he owns Trump and he'll figure out a way to assassinate Trump.

    You heard it here first!

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Okay, let's get the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party underway, eh!?

    As for the theme for this evening, your favourite Americana tunes and songs from Turtle Island with a few Canadiana tunes thrown in for good measure. :)

    Who will get things started?

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Okay, I'll go first ...

    Colonial Williamsburg

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Enjoy this live performance by Rush ...

    Tom Sawyer

  34. [34] 
    John From Censornati wrote:
  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    This year, Canada Day, July 1st, was a time for Listening to Indigenous Voices and learning.

    Listening - Honour Song

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    This is one of my favourite Neil Diamond tunes ...


  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I hope you are all having a fun Fourth of July!

    I'll end my portion of this evenings festivities with PRiSM's American Music ... turn it up loud!

  38. [38] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Hey, where is everybody?

    Now that I know where Turtle Island is, here's a little Needle and the Damage Done, by Neil Young.

    Old Man.


  39. [39] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Jackass from Censornati (26)-
    Doubling down on your lies again.

    The difference between your accusation and mine is that the facts right here in the comments back up my accusation and prove yours wrong.

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Turtle Island = North America but, I love your selections, Caddy!

Comments for this article are closed.