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Archive of Articles in the "Domestic Policy" Category

My Snap Reactions To The Fourth Debate

[ Posted Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 – 00:37 UTC ]

As usual, what follows are my snap reactions to the fourth Democratic presidential debate, held earlier on CNN. But this time I'm opting for a somewhat simpler format. I'm only giving personal reactions to five of the 12 candidates (which does include the three frontrunners). Then I'm going to give some reactions grouped loosely together, under categories such as "good argument / good delivery" or "amusing moments." We'll have to see whether this is a time-saver or not, in the end.

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What To Look For In The Fourth Democratic Debate

[ Posted Monday, October 14th, 2019 – 16:40 UTC ]

Tomorrow night the top Democratic candidates will debate each other, for the fourth time in the 2020 primary race. The number of candidates on the stage has grown from the third debate (up from 10 last time around to tomorrow night's even dozen) as a result of the Democratic National Committee laying down exactly the same entry criteria for both events. Since there was more time to qualify, more people managed to make it onto the stage for the fourth debate than the third. From this point on, though, the D.N.C. seems likely to reset the criteria individually for each debate, so this is probably the last time the field will expand rather than shrink. Also, the decision was made to put all 12 on stage together tomorrow night rather than breaking them up into two debates of six candidates each, held on two successive nights. What this means is that each candidate will not have very much time to speak tomorrow night.

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Friday Talking Points -- As The Clown Car Empties

[ Posted Friday, October 11th, 2019 – 17:22 UTC ]

The amusing thing about a circus clown car is, of course, that just when you think that itty-bitty car couldn't possibly vomit forth any more clowns... a few more climb out. That's what this week's news of the arrest of two "clients" of Rudy Giuliani (Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman) as they were attempting to flee the country certainly felt like.

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Friday Talking Points -- Quid, Meet Quo

[ Posted Friday, October 4th, 2019 – 16:30 UTC ]

The impeachment whirlwind shows no signs of slowing down, and in fact each day brings more and more evidence that President Donald Trump is using American foreign policy as his own personal opposition research to undermine his Democratic political opponents. Which, of course, is an eminently impeachable offense.

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Friday Talking Points -- Collusion, Collusion, Collusion!

[ Posted Friday, September 27th, 2019 – 17:22 UTC ]

This has been an extraordinary week, in a presidency chock-full of extraordinary weeks. Call it extra-extraordinary, we suppose. The country went from hearing vague things about Trump stonewalling a congressional committee to full-on impeachment in a matter of hours, it seemed. Or days, at the longest. We went from zero to impeachment in record time, giving Trump a new superlative to brag about: fastest scandal ever.

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Friday Talking Points -- Ukraine-gate? MassiveTrumpCollusion-gate?

[ Posted Friday, September 20th, 2019 – 18:05 UTC ]

We're in the midst of a brand-new breaking scandal -- one that's so new it hasn't even been assigned a "-gate" label yet. Ukraine-gate? Kiev-gate? MassiveTrumpCollusion-gate? As was entirely appropriate, Hillary Clinton had the pithiest tweet of the week: "The president asked a foreign power to help him win an election. Again."

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Moscow Mitch Caves!

[ Posted Thursday, September 19th, 2019 – 16:50 UTC ]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reversed course today and allowed a bill with $250 million in new election security spending to advance. It looks like the "#MoscowMitch" campaign worked, in other words. We got to him, and he finally caved!

It's important to put this issue into some context. While $250 million may sound like a lot of money, in Washington it is absolute peanuts. In terms of the whole federal budget, this is the equivalent of some loose change found in the couch cushions. And not even that much loose change, at that. As the old saying about federal spending goes (a saying so old it was mythically first uttered by a senator who died in 1969): "A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." Given that bar -- again, set in the 1960s when Dr. Evil thought "one mil-li-on dollars" was a lot of dough -- $250 million only adds up to one-eighth of what was considered "real money" over a half-century ago. Like I said, peanuts. This is what Mitch McConnell was fighting so hard to avoid ponying up.

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GOP Leaderless On Gun Safety

[ Posted Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 – 16:39 UTC ]

This was supposed to be the week when President Donald Trump unveiled his preferred plan for gun safety reform. He still might do so tomorrow. But so far, the entire process on the Republican side of the aisle has appeared rudderless and leaderless, due to Trump's ever-increasing vacillations on what he'd be prepared to support. Mitch McConnell has doubled down on this leaderlessness by insisting that he will not move on any bill until Trump expressly signals his support for it. The buck gets passed back and forth like the political hot potato it is. No Republican wants to be the one with his name associated with an anti-gun law, because they all live in terror of the political power of the National Rifle Association -- which isn't going to support any new gun laws at all. Congressional Republicans are looking for Trump to lead the way out of this conundrum, but Trump seems increasingly incapable of doing so.

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Our Fifth Trillion-Dollar Deficit

[ Posted Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 17:03 UTC ]

It was little noticed, but last week the U.S. government admitted that this year's budget deficit has already topped the trillion-dollar mark. And the fiscal year won't be over for another month. This will be only the fifth time in American history that the annual deficit has been over a trillion dollars, and the other four years were all in the depths of the Great Recession. We're supposed to have a good economy right now, but we're running a deficit as if we're in some pretty bad times. Of course, all of this proves how both Donald Trump and the Republicans have been lying to the American public all along, and how Democrats can continue to make the rather easy argument that the only time the nation gets its fiscal house in anything resembling good order is when there's a Democrat in the White House.

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Friday Talking Points -- Selenofriggatriskaidekaphobia (Revisited)

[ Posted Friday, September 13th, 2019 – 17:00 UTC ]

We have to begin today with an apology. Five years ago, without knowing any better, we erroneously reported in this space that there would not be another Friday the 13th which coincided with a full moon until 2049. So it was much to our surprise that we heard that this week we all were going to see another one, only five short years after we feverishly coined the word "selenofriggatriskaidekaphobia" to describe those with the very specific neurotic fear (-phobia) of both full moons (seleno-) and Fridays (-frigga-) the 13th (-triskaideka-).

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