Archive of Articles for October, 2023

Bone-Shaking Hallowe'en Tales For Right And Left

[ Posted Tuesday, October 31st, 2023 – 15:32 UTC ]


It is time once again, goblins and ghouls, to offer up some frightening political horror stories for both sides of the aisle. As in years past, we have brewed up a witches' cauldron of fearful spine-tingling tales to scare the pants right off you, no matter where you dwell on the political spectrum.

And, as promised, there will be pumpkins! We have carved two jack o'lanterns to fit each chilling tale, although we do admit that the second one was rather hard to think up an actual image for (we went with California, although upon reflection maybe we should have carved a train... or a snarling dog's face...).

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An Alternate Reality Exercise

[ Posted Monday, October 30th, 2023 – 15:41 UTC ]

Mike Pence surprised everyone this weekend, when he abruptly announced he was ending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination during a speech Pence gave in Las Vegas. The surprise wasn't that Pence's presidential ambitions were doomed -- anyone with half a brain could see that from the get-go -- but that Pence had actually realized it himself, this early in the process. Personally, I knew from the day he announced that Mike Pence was never going to win the Republican nomination -- not even if Donald Trump had suddenly decided not to run. Even without Trump in the race, Pence would still have been doomed. His flavor of Republicanism is a thing of the past, he has an incredibly bland and smarmy personality (he really deserves to have Trump hit him for being "sanctimonious," much more than Ron DeSantis), and he enraged the MAGA crowd by not following the Dear Leader's order to somehow wave a magic wand and overturn the results of the 2020 election on January 6th. Add all of that up and it equals a big defeat from the Republican voting base, plain and simple. So watching the coverage of the development on yesterday's morning political-chatfest shows wasn't any real surprise (other than the early timing of it). What was a surprise (for me, at least) this Sunday morning was to see Arnold Schwarzenegger being interviewed (for some unfathomable reason) on NBC's Meet The Press.

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Friday Talking Points -- Republicans Get Their 'Poop In A Group'

[ Posted Friday, October 27th, 2023 – 18:05 UTC ]

After three weeks of junior-high-school levels of adolescent slap-fighting, Republicans in the House of Representatives finally (!) chose a speaker. Was this largely due to fatigue at how tawdry the whole clown show was, or was it the fear that some moderate members were actually considering working with Democrats to come up with a solution? We'll never know, but we certainly are glad it's over. For now, that is. The rule on the "motion to vacate" hasn't changed, so while Speaker Mike Johnson seems to be enjoying something of a honeymoon period with even the furthest-right of his caucus, things could always go south for him, since all it would take would be five disgruntled Republicans to kick him out too. And disgruntled is what MAGA extremists do best, so we'll have to see whether this comes to pass or not in the weeks ahead.

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The Circles Mike Johnson Will Have To Square

[ Posted Thursday, October 26th, 2023 – 15:28 UTC ]

There are plenty of metaphors to choose from when describing what newly-anointed Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is now going to have to face: a Gordian knot, threading a needle, walking a tightrope, squaring a circle, and the ever-popular herding of cats. Whatever image you choose, it all boils down to a near-impossible task -- perhaps with one very narrow solution, perhaps not. That's what Johnson now faces, with his boisterous House Republicans. The past three weeks of clown show hasn't changed the basic dynamic of this situation.

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Trump's Lawyers Flip On Him

[ Posted Wednesday, October 25th, 2023 – 15:02 UTC ]

The breaking political news today is that we finally (!) have a new speaker of the House. However, I have been so immersed in this story for the past three weeks that I'm going to take this opportunity to step back from the House GOP drama club for a day and focus on another story that's also been developing quickly. We'll all have plenty of time to discuss newly-sworn-in Speaker Mike Johnson in the days and weeks to come, after all.

While all of this has been playing out in Washington, Donald Trump has been sinking slowly into his various legal quagmires. The most prominent example comes from Georgia, where a total of four of his co-defendants have now turned state's evidence, accepted rather lenient plea deals, and pleaded guilty to various charges. This leaves 14 co-defendants who have not flipped yet -- but still could. That's a lot of other shoes that could drop, obviously (and some of them are very big shoes indeed).

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Another One Bites The Dust

[ Posted Tuesday, October 24th, 2023 – 15:24 UTC ]

House Republicans, in a whirlwind of chaos today, first elected a nominee to be speaker and then refused to give him the support he would have needed -- so he dropped out. It was a head-snapping day for politics-watchers, that's for sure.

For those of you who weren't glued to the news feeds today, I will try to give a play-by-play rundown of what just transpired. The short answer is: Tom Emmer won the Republican nomination for speaker of the House on the last possible round of voting, only to withdraw his nomination four hours later after realizing there were around two dozen Republicans who would never vote for him on the House floor. Which leaves us right back where we were three weeks ago on October 4th -- a speakerless House and a Republican conference that has zero party unity and no acknowledged leadership whatsoever.

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Speaker's Contest Is Wide Open

[ Posted Monday, October 23rd, 2023 – 16:03 UTC ]

House Republicans are meeting tonight to hear from all their candidates who have declared they are running for speaker. It'll be a closed-door meeting, where each of the candidates will make a presentation to the GOP House conference. And this could take awhile, since there are nine names now in the running.

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Friday Talking Points -- Crossing The Jordan

[ Posted Friday, October 20th, 2023 – 17:13 UTC ]

Today, Republicans crossed the Jordan. That would be Jim Jordan, and enough of them crossed him in a third House speaker vote that the party as a whole has now completely crossed him off the list. Jordan is no longer the Republican "speaker-designee," instead he's just "Representative Jordan" again. And yet the Republicans are still nowhere near their Promised Land (to complete that metaphor) -- they're still out there somewhere, wandering in the wilderness.

Where do House Republicans go next? They don't have a clue. They'll think about it over the weekend and then get back together Monday night to hold another closed-door meeting to nominate another poor sap to try to become speaker. Maybe it'll be one of the previous selections? Kevin McCarthy or Steve Scalise certainly don't seem far-fetched, at least at this point. But it could be someone new as well. Lots of people could run, who knows?

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Republicans Completely Incapable Of Governing

[ Posted Thursday, October 19th, 2023 – 14:37 UTC ]

We're all currently experiencing the punchline of an old political joke -- the one that says Republicans really should be honest in their campaign slogans, by running on: "Government doesn't work -- elect us and we'll prove it!" Here we are, living that proof.

The House of Representatives does not have an elected Republican leader. Republicans control a majority of the seats, but it is such a slim majority that any five of them deciding to throw a monkey wrench into the works paralyzes the entire party. At the beginning of this month, a giant monkey wrench was indeed thrown, as eight Republicans managed to dethrone their own speaker. Since that point, chaos has reigned in the House, and it doesn't seem like sanity is going to prevail any time soon.

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Jordan Goes Down For The Second Time

[ Posted Wednesday, October 18th, 2023 – 15:46 UTC ]

Once again, Jim Jordan's hopes of becoming speaker of the House of Representatives went down in flames today. In the final tally, Jordan flipped two Republicans from opposing him to supporting him and he also picked up a third vote from someone who was absent yesterday... but Jordan also lost four Republicans who flipped from supporting him to voting for someone else. Instead of 200 votes for Jordan and 20 Republican votes against, that adds up to 199 votes for Jordan and 22 GOP votes against. Or to put it more simply: Jordan is going backwards.

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