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Friday Talking Points -- Biden Launches His Re-Election Campaign

[ Posted Friday, April 28th, 2023 – 18:37 UTC ]

This is the big White House Correspondents Dinner weekend, but somehow our invitation was either lost in the mail or otherwise overlooked. So we'll have to watch the clips later, like everyone else.

This was a pretty momentous week in politics, as President Joe Biden announced his re-election bid, Donald Trump's rape court case got underway, and Kevin McCarthy was actually able to corral his various factions to vote for a bill that Democrats will use as fodder in the upcoming congressional campaigns. So let's get right to it all, shall we?

President Biden released three-minute video this Tuesday, and it was immediately countered with a 30-second video from the Republican Party. Biden's video was positive and upbeat for the most part, while the GOP response can only be called words like "apocalyptic" or "dystopian." We wrote about both videos earlier in the week in more detail, but the upshot is that Republicans -- surprise, surprise! -- are obviously going to run their campaigns purely on fear, once again. Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Such a pitch makes sense to those whose only source of news is Fox or one of the even-further-right media outlets, since they have been mightily trying to portray Joe Biden's term in office as the worst possible thing that has ever happened to this country. Since this bears virtually no relation to the actual reality of the situation, it seems jarringly disconnected when you view a political ad made with these beliefs. But to those who hear only this drumbeat of doom, it must sound perfectly reasonable to think that a Democratic governor and/or a Democratic president would ever use the military to "close" the city of San Francisco because of "crime" and "fentanyl." That is patently insane to anyone who thinks about it for more than a half a second, but that is indeed one of the "what if" scenarios the GOP ad warns of.

Back in reality, Joe Biden is well aware of his biggest actual drawback in the upcoming race -- his advanced age. Even voters who voted for him in 2020 aren't exactly enthused about getting the chance to vote for him again. But Biden's biggest positive argument is a doozy: "I beat Donald Trump once, and I can beat him again." Unless somebody on the Republican side starts catching fire with base GOP voters, it certainly looks more likely than not that the 2024 race will be a repeat of the 2020 race: Biden versus Trump. Which doesn't really thrill much of anybody beyond their hardcore supporters.

Trump is, of course, a flawed candidate for many reasons. His legal baggage seems to mount by the day, for one. E. Jean Carroll got her "day in court" all week long in New York, in a civil case she brought against Trump for raping her back in the 1990s. Trump hasn't even bothered to show up for court, which may not exactly endear him to the jury. This case may wrap up as soon as next week, so it will be interesting to hear what the jury decides. Because it is a civil trial, there will be no jail time involved, but a hefty financial settlement would certainly be one more gigantic piece of baggage for him to carry around.

In other Trump legal news, Mike Pence didn't waste any time after an appeals court ruled against Trump's attempt at preventing Pence from appearing before a federal grand jury. Pence showed up the very next morning and spent several hours testifying to them -- although nobody who wasn't in the room has any idea what he said, at this point. The interesting thing to consider about Pence testifying is that the special counsel looking into Trump's possible federal crimes can't really go any higher than Pence, in terms of seeking testimony from those closest to Trump during the whole January 6th fiasco. Since Pence is the highest rung imaginable on the ladder, the next step may actually be bringing indictments. But nobody has any idea of the timeline of when this could happen, this is just speculation.

One timeline was revealed this week, down in Georgia. The prosecutor there who is looking at possible election fraud and many other serious charges sent a letter which informed law enforcement agencies in the state that charges were expected to be brought between July 11th and September 1st. This is a little more specific than anything else we've heard on this case, but that's still quite a ways down the road. Which means that nothing public is going to happen on the case for at least two more months. The prosecutor has apparently delayed things because so many witnesses have come forward in the meantime (including people who might be charged, who are reportedly now throwing their co-conspirators under the bus).

In non-legal political news, Trump reacted to Biden's campaign launch the way he reacts to any political opponent (of either party) -- he spewed a whole bunch of lies about Biden, all in keeping with that Fox-inspired apocalyptic view of the country. Trump flexed his political muscles in a different way this week as well, as he intimated that he might not show up for any of the Republican presidential debates, because the party hadn't gotten his approval for them all. The R.N.C. chair tried to brush this off (on Fox, which astoundingly actually fact-checked her to her face), saying "President Trump never shies away from a debate," conveniently forgetting that Trump had indeed done so previously. Whoops!

It actually would make a whole lot of sense for Trump to skip all the GOP debates, at least until anyone else in the field actually showed signs of mounting a credible challenge to him. If Trump is crushing all other contenders in the polls (which is indeed the case, currently), then why should he let any of them have free shots at him on a debate stage? Ignoring the debates would mean Trump's star power wouldn't be in the room and all the other wannabes would be left to bicker among themselves. So it seems like skipping at least the first few debates might be the smartest thing for Trump to do, at least at this point.

The only candidate who has managed to even dent Trump's support in the GOP base is Ron DeSantis, but it seems the more he tries to present himself as a "better than Trump without all the drama" candidate, the more people aren't very impressed with him. He's trying to make the argument that he's even tougher than Trump on several social wedge issues, while being far more electable to the general public, but this argument doesn't seem to be working. His level of support in the polls seems to have already peaked, which is far too early (obviously). Remember when Jeb Bush seemed like the inevitable Republican presidential nominee? Perhaps he won't be the only Florida governor to see his political fortunes wither way too early.

DeSantis is locked in a political vendetta with Disney, which keeps escalating. This week Disney filed a federal lawsuit accusing DeSantis of a campaign of political retribution against it, which seems like a pretty easy case to make (given all the public posturing DeSantis has done on it). Attacking a large corporation who provides tens of thousands of jobs in your state isn't exactly a traditional conservative thing to do, and already there are plenty of Republicans who are getting more and more annoyed at this personal vendetta -- which isn't helping DeSantis in the polls or with large GOP donors.

Nikki Haley (another GOP presidential wannabe) gave a speech this week to a big forced-birth gathering, and she tried to walk her own tightrope on the abortion issue. She refused to take any stance at all on any of the contentious tactics being debated in the movement, instead she tried to make the issue all gauzy and feel-good. Call it the "compassionate conservative forced-birth" position, perhaps. It is doubtful this is going to convince any actual voters though, since whether Republican candidates want to specify their own positions or not the reality is that the most extreme members of the party are going to continue to try to impose their drastic laws on everyone. Which all works to the Democrats' advantage, since the forced-birth position is not popular at all. Haley's attempted dodge of what she would actually support seems doomed to fail.

In fact, some Republicans are already balking at the more extreme versions of abortion bans. A "near-total" ban in South Carolina and a six-week ban in Nebraska both failed to pass in their states' legislatures because a handful of Republicans decided they went too far. But so far, this has been the exception -- most Republicans are unwilling to directly take on the forced-birth movement in any way whatsoever.

In other mean-spirited political news, Kansas just passed the most restrictive "bathroom bill" in the country, barring transgendered people from using the bathroom of their chosen gender. The very red state actually has a Democratic governor who vetoed the measure, but the Republicans have a supermajority in their legislature and overrode her veto this week. This is all part of the Republican "attack trans rights and drag queens" strategy, which seems to be a last desperate attempt to fight L.G.B.T.Q. rights one more time (they've given up on fighting gay marriages, for the most part, and have now latched on to transgender rights for this election cycle).

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy finally was able to drag his opening bid in the debt ceiling standoff across the finish line this week, herding his GOP cats into just enough votes (217) to pass his bill. In other words, not exactly a show of strength. We'll have more to say on what the GOP plan would mean later on, but the passage of the measure means a new phase for the political mudfight.

President Biden has so far stuck to his insistence that he will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States government, and the White House sounded pretty adamant about it after McCarthy's bill squeaked through. Team Biden also showed how they'll be presenting their case to the public. A White House spokesman put it thusly:

Nearly every House Republican just voted for an extreme MAGA hostage-taking proposal that their very own members admit is a "tax increase," and that the business community warns will kill the historic wave of manufacturing jobs President Biden is bringing back to America.

We have just a few more odds and ends to get to here, then we'll move on to the awards. The Republican Party created a post-mortem or autopsy to grade their performance in the 2022 midterms. But there was one very big cause for their electoral woes that the document refused to even mention: Donald Trump. This was even pointed out by members of the Republican National Committee:

"If it doesn't mention Donald Trump or the candidates with the Trump endorsement, it's not worth the paper it's written on," said Bill Palatucci, an RNC member from New Jersey and Trump critic. "If you don't mention Trump, it's like searching for a light switch with a blindfold on. You're not going to find the truth. The truth is self-evident."

"What is the point of doing an analysis of the Republican Party if you're not looking at Trump? You're just wasting your time," said another RNC member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid retribution.

Over on the other side of the aisle, if you're so inclined, you can now buy official "Biden For President" campaign items with "Dark Brandon" on them (complete with glowing red laser-eyes). But that wasn't even the most amusing thing from Biden this week.

The president hosted the leader of South Korea at the White House, which even included a state dinner. At some point in the proceedings, Biden invited South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to offer up his own (a cappella) rendition of the first verse of American Pie. Afterwards, Biden presented him with a guitar signed by Don McLean. But even that wasn't the best photo op of the week.

On "Take Your Child To Work Day," Biden appeared outdoors to a small crowd of people flanked by the most adorable "Secret Service agents" you've ever seen. And we have to hand it to the kids, they all played their part perfectly, with little sunglasses and serious scowls on their faces. Take a look for yourself, but be fully prepared to say: "Awwww...."


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We have two Honorable Mention awards to hand out this week before we get to the main event. The first goes to Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who this week signed a "Right To Repair" law, making his state the first to have one. This forces the makers of farm equipment to provide farmers who have bought their incredibly-expensive machines (such as combine harvesters) all the software and other tools they need to be able to fix their own machines. This is a fascinating issue that is rather bipartisan (it is mainly a rural issue), but it also could be expanded to cover things like allowing people to be able to change the batteries in their iPhones. In any case, Polis was the first governor to actually get a law passed, and he deserves credit for doing so.

Also worthy of credit is Senator Ben Cardin, who led the push in the Senate this week to remove the deadlines from the Equal Rights Amendment, which would immediately allow it to become a ratified part of the U.S. Constitution. This effort failed -- only two Republicans, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, voted for it -- but it was worth the effort if only to put the 46 Republicans who voted against it on the record as being against women's equality. The fight to get this amendment ratified goes back 100 years, and it's not over yet -- but it is a lot closer than it has ever been before. Cardin voted to ratify the amendment when he was in the Maryland legislature, over 50 years ago. Now he is leading the charge to finish the job.

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week was none other than Montana state representative Zooey Zephyr, the first transgendered lawmaker ever to serve in the state legislature. Here's the story, if you haven't been following it:

Montana Republicans on Wednesday voted to formally punish a transgender Democratic lawmaker who has been silenced in the state House after criticizing GOP colleagues who support a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender children.

The chamber voted 68-32 to bar state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D) from being present on the House floor or in the anteroom or gallery -- a move that comes after Zephyr's silencing led to heated protests at the Capitol on Monday. Zephyr will still be allowed to vote but only remotely, meaning she cannot debate on the House floor for the rest of the legislative session, which ends next month.

Since Zephyr said last week that those who support banning gender-affirming care for transgender children would have "blood on your hands," Republican leaders have declined to recognize her on the floor and her microphone has been disabled when lawmakers have debated. In response, Zephyr and her supporters held a rally Monday that resulted in seven arrests and upended proceedings at the Capitol as people jammed inside the chamber and kept chanting, "Let her speak!"

Republicans, who have asked Zephyr to apologize, accused her of violating decorum rules by encouraging protesters and disrupting House proceedings. Meanwhile, Democrats came to Zephyr's defense, arguing that the lawmaker was standing up for her constituents and the LGBTQ community as she was elected to do.

After not being recognized for a week, Zephyr was given five minutes on Wednesday to address the motion to punish her.

"I will rise in support of my community," she said. "I will take the hard and moral choice and stand up in defense of the people who elected me."

Representative Zephyr feels the issue of transgender rights is one of life and death. She obviously has a personal stake in trying to prevent Republican lawmakers from passing laws targeting such people, and she is advocating for her community. But she won't be able to do so from the chamber floor anymore -- the most she's now allowed to do is to vote on bills from a remote location.

Republicans have decided that destroying the rights of transgendered people is a big hot political issue for them right now. All across the country, red states are competing with each other to pass the most Draconian laws possible targeting trans people. They think it's a winner for them, politically. But their actions have real-world consequences and Zooey Zephyr was doing her best to make this point as a state representative. Now she has been silenced.

For her courage and refusal to back down, Zooey Zephyr is easily the winner of this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award.

[Congratulate Montana Representative Zooey Zephyr via her official contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

We're going to take a big-picture view of the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award this week, because this still annoys us no end.

Kevin McCarthy and Joe Biden are playing a dangerous game of "chicken" over the full faith and credit of the United States government. The Republican House is engaged in hostage-taking, threatening not to raise the debt ceiling unless Biden agrees to slash the federal budget in all sorts of disastrous ways. Biden quite rightly points out that when Donald Trump was in office, Republicans were more than happy to raise the debt ceiling three times without any such concessions. Each is trying to spin the whole made-up crisis as the other one's fault.

To us, however, Joe Biden is indeed at fault for this whole mess, because it was all so predictable. And he could have avoided it in two separate ways, neither of which he pursued. He even denigrated one of them. Which directly led to exactly where we are now.

Back in January, we wrote about this at length, in an article titled "Biden's Biggest Mistake." In it, we wrote:

The biggest political mistake Biden has made as president was to undercut -- twice -- the efforts by congressional Democrats to deal with the debt ceiling while they still had the chance. Later this year, this may come back to bite not just Biden but all of us. In what could be a catastrophic way.

The really odd thing about Biden's stance is that he wasn't adequately asked to explain it at the time. When some in Congress were proposing to just abolish the debt ceiling concept entirely -- which would have been far and away the most responsible thing to do -- Biden bizarrely called the effort to do so "irresponsible." No reporter that I am aware of ever asked Biden or the White House to explain this head-scratcher. How would preventing Republicans from holding the full faith and credit of the American government hostage have been ir-responsible, Joe? That simply makes no sense, but as I said, nobody seemed to have the same reaction I did, so no reporter pressed for further clarification.

. . .

Then in December, when the final piece of legislation from the Democratic House and Senate was being put together -- a large bill which funded the federal government all year long, to avoid having the incoming Republican House get their destructive mitts on it -- the White House did not insist that a debt ceiling hike be included. They could have. They could have pressured the responsible Republicans they were working with to do the right thing and remove this hostage-taking ability from the House Republicans as well. They could have raised the debt ceiling to such a level that no further raise would have been necessary for the remainder of Biden's term. This would have made all kinds of sense, but again, Biden failed to do so.

. . .

For half a year, we'll all be discussing the prospects and angles and political ramifications. Which we just didn't have to do. Joe Biden could have solved this problem pre-emptively. He didn't. Not only did he fail to do so, he actually pulled the rug out from under the Democrats who had the best solution to the problem of them all -- abolishing the ridiculous and redundant debt ceiling concept once and for all, which would have forever ended this political hostage-taking by the Republicans.

. . .

Which is why I begin where I started. What was "irresponsible" was Biden refusing to push for the debt ceiling fight to have been resolved before the end of last year, when Democrats still controlled the House. What was "irresponsible" was to hand-deliver the hostage into Kevin McCarthy's arms. What was "irresponsible" was to continue this dangerous legal fiction for any amount of time whatsoever, instead of driving a stake through its heart once and for all.

Joe Biden failing to deal with all this -- and being incredibly counterproductive, in fact -- has been his biggest political mistake as president.

As we said, it was entirely predictable that McCarthy would do exactly what he has now done. But it didn't have to be this way. We could have avoided this situation permanently by abolishing the fictional debt ceiling all together. Biden could have avoided it for the rest of his first term by striking a deal with the lame-duck Congress. He did neither of these things.

Admittedly, neither one was guaranteed to pass. Making the effort might not have worked. But refusing to even make either effort is pretty inexcusable, when you consider where we are now as a direct result.

We still would like some enterprising White House reporter to pose that question to Biden, even now: "Can you explain why you called abolishing the debt ceiling 'irresponsible,' when doing so would have avoided what we all face now? How was it 'responsible' to allow Kevin McCarthy to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage when it all could have been avoided?"

Whether that question ever gets asked or not, President Joe Biden deserves this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week for irresponsibly allowing this situation to even happen, when it could have been prevented.

[Contact President Joe Biden on his official contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 704 (4/28/23)

Media appreciation note:

There was a big shakeup in the world of cable news this week, as two prominent commentators were fired from two separate networks: Tucker Carlson (Fox "News") and Don Lemon (CNN). Carlson got most of the attention, but by week's end he had faded away into the realm now inhabited by his predecessors, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. This consists of ranting to a boutique audience online rather than to millions of Fox viewers each night.

The rest of the media world had a field day when the story first broke, with many going with the "anchors dropped" or "anchors away" metaphor, but the funniest headline we saw was from Politico, who came up with: "Fox Nips Tuck, CNN Squeezes Lemon Out." A headline for the ages, in our humble opinion.

There was some truly sad news this week; the death of Harry Belafonte. Most of the obituaries we saw focused on his musical abilities, but what was much more impressive (to us, at least) was his long history of political activism. Belafonte was a close confidant of Martin Luther King Junior and helped organize the 1963 March On Washington. He continued his political activism his entire life, and as we said it is a much more impressive record than his other accomplishments in life.

Requiescat In Pace, Harry Belafonte. You will be missed.


   They are scared to level with you

Democrats need to point out both what is in the bill the House Republicans just passed, as well as what is not in the bill. Because they're trying to sell a pig in a poke here.

"Kevin McCarthy began his leadership of the House of Representatives promising that his first priority would be passing a budget and that that budget would balance within 10 years. That last promise was the first abandoned, but make no mistake about it, what the House just passed is not actually a budget. President Biden has put out a full budget, with all the numbers filled in. Republicans are scared to do so because then the American people would see precisely how devastating their ideas would be. So they passed a bill without any specifics, promising to fill in the details later. I say to Kevin McCarthy and all the rest of the House Republicans: 'What are you scared of? Let the American people see what your plans are! Level with them -- they deserve to see.' Because my guess is that they're going to continue to hide their real numbers for as long as they can get away with it -- because they are so scared of what the American people will think about their plan."


   State your facts

This is going to be a build-your-own talking point for lots of Democrats running for Congress this election cycle. Kevin McCarthy jammed through his plans to slash federal spending, and all but four House Republicans voted for it. The White House has put out helpful "state fact sheets" which break down what the Republicans are now on record supporting, which can be used by Democrats to tell the voters what the GOP is fighting hard for (while taking the full faith and credit of the United States government hostage). Their plan had no detailed numbers in it, so the White House helpfully did the math. Here is Dana Milbank of the Washington Post using this to great effect, in an article warning all the moderate Republicans who just "walked the plank" what they can expect in the upcoming campaign. This is how to frame the whole budget/debt ceiling fight perfectly, from now on:

In addition, the bill [Representative Jen Kiggans from Virginia] supported sets spending targets that require an immediate 22 percent cut to all "non-defense discretionary spending" -- that's border security, the FBI, airport security, air traffic control, highways, agriculture programs, veterans' health programs, food stamps, Medicaid, medical research, national parks and much more. If they want to cut less than 22 percent in some of those areas, they'll have to cut more than 22 percent in others.

According to an administration analysis of what the 22 percent cuts translate to, Kiggans is now on record supporting:

Shutting down at least two air traffic control towers in Virginia.

Jeopardizing outpatient medical care for 162,300 Virginia veterans.

Throwing up to 175,000 Virginians off food stamps and ending food assistance for another 25,000 through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program Women, Infants and Children.

Cutting or ending Pell Grants for 162,900 Virginia college students.

Eliminating Head Start for 3,600 Virginia children and child care for another 1,300 children.

Adding at least two months to wait times for Virginia seniors seeking assistance with Social Security and Medicare.

Denying opioid treatment for more than 600 Virginians.

Ending 180 days of rail inspections per year and 1,350 fewer miles of track inspected.

Kicking 13,400 Virginia families off rental assistance.


   Another first!

Worth pointing out whenever his name comes up, don't you think?

"Donald Trump has achieved a new 'first' in American politics -- he is now the only former president in American history to be accused in an open courtroom of rape. He'll go down in history not only for being impeached twice, but also for being the first ex-president to be accused of one of the most heinous crimes there is. Hopefully he'll be the only one ever, too."


   Trump knew the Big Lie was a lie from the start

The Washington Post broke this story, and it will no doubt come up in some future court case against Trump.

"Donald Trump didn't just hire one investigative firm to chase down all his 'election fraud' rumors, it turns out he hired two such firms. He paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars to look into every single accusation of voter fraud or vote-rigging all the conspiracy theorists came up with. And not just one but both firms told Trump exactly the same thing -- that it was all rumor, that claiming the election was stolen from him was no more than a Big Lie. Trump knew this from the start -- he paid a lot of money to two firms to find out. And they both told him there was 'no there, there.' Trump didn't care about evidence, though, since there was still money to be made over pushing his Big Lie."


   Yeah, like that is going to happen....

The Republican Party really deserves to be called out for their delusion.

"Right after Joe Biden announced his re-election campaign, the Republican Party put out an ad which predicted the military would soon be 'closing' American cities, if Biden were re-elected. This is patently insane. They showed the U.S. military standing guard on the screen while the voiceover read: 'Officials closed the city of San Francisco this morning, citing the escalating crime and fentanyl crisis.' This would be laughable if it weren't so apocalyptic in nature. I mean, ok, I might be able to believe that some Republican governor of some deep red state tried to call out the National Guard to besiege some Democratic city within their state, but San Francisco? Seriously? Gavin Newsom's going to shut down the City By The Bay? In what universe would this even happen? I mean, I understand that scare tactics and fearmongering is kind of what Republicans do, but you'd think they'd make it even a tiny bit believable. This is just some kind of a warped joke."


   For the children

Democrats really need to lean in to this, because they've got their own case to make on the issue.

"Republicans like to say that they're all for protecting children, but they've got a pretty strange way of defining that. What the Republican Party is actually for is banning books so children can't see them. Banning teaching children the real history and the honest truth about racism in America. Banning teachers from even admitting that gay couples exist. Furthermore, they're now pushing to relax child labor laws in many states, so schoolchildren can work night shifts or in meatpacking plants. They want to force pregnant 11-year-olds to give birth. They want it to be as hard as humanly possible for college kids to vote, because they usually vote Democratic. Democrats are the ones who are really standing up for America's children, because we are against all of those things."


   No ethics at all

This has the benefit of being literally true.

"It is an absolute disgrace that the Supreme Court has no code of ethics. Justices feel free to accept lavish gifts from billionaires, sell property to their buddies at inflated prices, and refuse to recuse themselves from cases where they have a clear conflict of interest. As I said, this is an absolute disgrace. Every other judge in America is forced to follow a code of ethics -- rules to preserve impartiality in our justice system. But the Supreme Court has no ethics at all."

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


16 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Biden Launches His Re-Election Campaign”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Whether that question ever gets asked or not, President Joe Biden deserves this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week for irresponsibly allowing this situation to even happen, when it could have been prevented.

    He has been making a habit out of letting bad things happen ...

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "...But the Supreme Court has no ethics at all."

    Great. That's all we need, eh? A bunch of Democrats going around saying that the SCOTUS has no ethics at all - acting just like Trump, in other words.

    Is there no hope left for the US, anywhere?

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It may be time to sound a little less partisan and get more creative about how to compete against the anti-enlightenment crowd. I'm just sayin' ...

  4. [4] 
    andygaus wrote:

    My suggested theme for all Democratic campaigns would be "Follow the money." Don't even try to refute the Republicans when they paint you as godless perverts. Just show in detail how Republicans help corporations to ship jobs overseas and help their wealthy donors to avoid paying taxes.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Remember the Republican cult of economic failure!

  6. [6] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Re: honorable mention for Gov. Polis of Colorado. I think it's fascinating how much Colorado's governor is accomplishing in this formerly-purple state. I'm a bit disappointed that all of his hard work gets much less attention in the media than California's or New York's governors. Any idea whether this is because he is not an media whore or if the cable news outlets still consider what happens in "fly-over country" as not *NEWS!*?

    In late-breaking news, the Democrats in Colorado show once more how to get things done.

  7. [7] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Re: MIDOW - thank you, Chris, for spotlighting this important story.

    Like the Tennessee Democrats who were expelled from the state legislature, the GOP's extreme actions against Ms Zephyr *should be* a wake-up call to any American who values our democracy, regardless of his/her/their political worldview.

    These are just the latest examples of how fascist and anti-democratic the Republican Party has become. The real victims are the voters who elected these people to represent them. The "un-American GOP" should be a weekly talking point for every Democratic candidate throughout the land.

  8. [8] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Re: andygaus [4]

    I agree with you entirely. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has not shown this talent since at least the age of Reagan.

    I grew up in a small town in the Florida Panhandle and, even as a teenager, it astonished me how easily poor people could be convinced to vote against their own economic interests. The Republicans' platform for 50 years has been that they will "cut taxes". The Democrats *should* immediately respond with real-world examples of how much Rupert Murdoch will save vs "Joe Plumber". Sadly, Democrats are still running scared from the "tax and spend" label they were unfairly branded with.

  9. [9] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    Re the evils of "shipping jobs overseas".

    There's a law of Economics that decrees that standard of living is maximized for all if every person, every region, every nation, specializes in producing those things for which they have a "Comparative Advantage" and then they all get together and trade.

    Once means of transportation evolved so as to permit it, it became advantageous for everybody to ship a lot of American jobs "overseas" or even in many cases, just "over borders".

    Even though that was short-term detrimental to a small group of Americans, (maybe steelworkers for example), it was far more hugely beneficial to all other Americans, AND to the foreigners.

    If you've ever shopped at Walmart or Harbor Freight, you should be able to grasp the concept of the advantages of free trade.

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    if the workers overseas had subsidized health care and food stamps, then maybe the comparative advantage would be beneficial. however, when 90% of the people who work at walmart or harbor freight depend on public tax money to survive, while their overseas counterparts work in sweatshops, the "free" market ain't all that free.


  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yes, Stucki, it's all about context. Without it, you ain't got nothin'!

  12. [12] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    You make valid points, but you're discussing Sociology, not Economics.

    I studied Economics, but I try to avoid Sociology, because it's basically another word for Politics, where there ain't no "right or wrong", there's only personal ideology.

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    How can you separate economics from sociology? Well, I mean, I suppose that is easy enough to do but it doesn't make a lot of sense.

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    Agree with you that sociology is highly political, but i think economics is political as well. And at the risk of delving into philosophy, i believe "right and wrong" actually do exist at least somewhat independent of political factions. Not to say that it's always as simple as with Hitler or Gandhi, but not all political ideologies are morally equivalent.

  15. [15] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    I should not have used the "right and wrong" terminology in my [12], because that terminology has overtones of morality/immorality. 'Correct/incorrect', or 'accurate/inaccurate' would have conveyed my intended meaning much better.

    And you're absolutely correct about the 'science' of Economics being riddled with politics, at least as it has evolved to the current state of the thing. Almost 100% of contemporary economists are actually 'political economists', far less concerned about how to achieve maximum outputs with minimum inputs than with how to (re)distribute such oudtputs as are available.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You must be precise in conveying your intended meaning around here. :)

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