Archive of Articles in the "Politicians" Category

Remembering (Not So Fondly) James Watt

[ Posted Thursday, June 8th, 2023 – 15:07 UTC ]

There were two notable deaths in the world of politics today, both of which inspire such strong negative feelings within me that I have to step outside the norm of: "De mortuis nihil nisi bonum." Both of these men were odious creatures in their own right, with one of them far more odious than the other. But the more odious one -- Pat Robertson -- is being adequately vilified elsewhere today, and I had a column all ready to go for the other one anyway, so this (repeat) column is dedicated to the memory of President Ronald Reagan's secretary of the Interior, James Watt. This column was published eight years ago, and thankfully the nation has made great progress since then. It was written to celebrate only the third state (Alaska, after Colorado and Washington) and Washington D.C. legalizing the recreational usage of marijuana. Today, that tally stands at 23 states plus D.C.

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Extreme-Right House Faction Is Revolting

[ Posted Wednesday, June 7th, 2023 – 16:33 UTC ]

It's hard not to poke at least a little bit of fun at Speaker Kevin McCarthy's problems with the most fractious and unruly members of his caucus right now, since the whole episode is such weak tea compared to the strength the Freedom Caucus and the whole MAGA faction were supposed to have leveraged over McCarthy. They haven't exactly turned into paper tigers, but I've read more than one article in the past 24 hours which used the term "defanged," which seems about right.

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Christie Ready To Storm Trump's Beaches

[ Posted Tuesday, June 6th, 2023 – 15:58 UTC ]

Seventy-nine years ago today, the forces of the free world attacked the fascist Nazi regime in northern France. This year, the Ukrainian military is marking the anniversary of D-Day by starting their own counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces. Back here at home, Chris Christie will be announcing his bid to take on Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. There are obvious moral parallels that can be drawn between these events, but today we're going to leave that to others (for the most part).

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Pence Makes It Official

[ Posted Monday, June 5th, 2023 – 16:02 UTC ]

Mike Pence made it official today by filing his paperwork to launch his 2024 presidential bid. He will hold a public announcement event on Wednesday, in Des Moines, Iowa. Pence has close to a zero percent chance of winning the Republican nomination, with his chances for possibly reprising his role as vice president hovering at somewhat less than zero. There doesn't seem to be any viable path forward for Pence, which seemingly everyone but Pence can clearly see.

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Friday Talking Points -- Crisis Averted

[ Posted Friday, June 2nd, 2023 – 16:57 UTC ]

And so it all ended with a whimper and not a bang. President Joe Biden will sign the bill passed by both houses of Congress to increase the debt ceiling until after the 2024 elections. The bill is a clear victory for Biden, since it contains very little (virtually any) of the initial Republican budget-slashing demands. But Biden couldn't come out and say how good a deal he got from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy until now, because if he had done so it would have fed into the resistance by the farthest-right members of Congress, but now that the bill has safely been passed Biden has scheduled an Oval Office address for later today (7:00 PM, Eastern Time). We should note this is too late for anything he says to be addressed or included here in this column, but we will definitely be watching Biden speak later on today. [Editorial Note: we did listen to Biden's address, and we know it may be hard to believe, but we had picked out our "Crisis Averted" headline before Biden used the phrase tonight.]

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It's Not How Many Get In, It's When They Get Out

[ Posted Thursday, June 1st, 2023 – 16:08 UTC ]

Can Donald Trump be defeated in the Republican presidential primaries? The safe answer, if one were inclined to place a bet at this stage of the game, is a pretty clear "No." Trump is absolutely dominating the GOP field, and only one challenger has made any sort of splash in the public polling. In what will no doubt become a recurring theme, I read today the first article bemoaning how many challengers are now jumping in the race to try to de-throne Trump (titled, amusingly enough: "Return Of The Republican Clown Car"). Dire warnings that the 2024 race could mirror the 2016 race are already being muttered, as more and more Republican hopefuls either officially toss their hats in the ring or just contemplate a run from the sidelines. But to me, the crucial question which will determine if any one Republican can beat Trump or not won't depend on how many of them run, but how many of them are still left running when the voters start to head to the polls. Because if Trump is to be beat, the only way it will happen is if there are only a few candidates left standing by Super Tuesday. Ideally: Trump and one other. Any more added to the mix would reduce the chances of any one of them would have of actually besting Trump.

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Let The Real GOP Nomination Fight Begin

[ Posted Wednesday, May 31st, 2023 – 14:35 UTC ]

The dynamics of the Republican presidential nomination race are about to drastically change, from a contest where one candidate punches down on all the others (who are all mostly terrified to punch back in any meaningful way) to an actual political fight where at least one candidate in the race doesn't quiver in his boots at the thought of attacking the frontrunner as forcefully as he can. Because Chris Christie is about to make it official and jump into the race.

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Coulda Been Worse...

[ Posted Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 – 15:38 UTC ]

The news broke in Washington over the holiday weekend that we finally have a deal. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to a plan which will constrain the federal budget and raise the debt ceiling past the 2024 elections. Nobody's exactly thrilled with the parameters of the deal, with grumbles being heard from both from the MAGA right and the progressive left. At this point, though, the deal looks like it will likely garner enough support to pass the House, and the Senate likely won't kill it off at the last minute. That's where things currently stand at any rate.

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Friday Talking Points -- The Waiting Game

[ Posted Friday, May 26th, 2023 – 16:31 UTC ]

We began the week waiting, and we are ending the week waiting. All week long, rumors have leaked out about the status of the budget negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden, with both sides spinning madly to impress their bases, but we end the week with no deal actually inked.

However, we may be close. At least, that's today's big leak. It seems like both sides have agreed to some topline numbers with various face-saving things thrown in so they can both claim at least a certain degree of victory. Whether this actually works or not is still an open question.

Members of both parties are doubtlessly going to howl when the details are publicly released, and then they'll accuse their own negotiators of "giving away the store." But others will accept the face-saving spin and push forward, most likely. That's usually the endgame for such sticky negotiations, at any rate.

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From The Archives -- The GOP Race At The Bottom

[ Posted Thursday, May 25th, 2023 – 17:16 UTC ]

Sorry folks, but there will be no new column today. I had to deal with some real-world stuff (car, etc.) and also will be preparing for tomorrow's column later, so I just didn't have the bandwidth to write a new one today. But there seem to be an adequate number of people commenting on how bad the Ron DeSantis "failure to launch" event was yesterday, and the temptation to write about it again would probably have been too much for me today, so I guess the rest of the internet already has that subject adequately covered.

Instead, just because I was curious, I went back eight years to May of 2015, just to see what I was saying about the state of the presidential horserace back then. I came across this column -- published eight years ago tomorrow -- where I reviewed the state of the Republican nomination race. Astonishingly, there was one prominent name missing. Which means I have to live down having written the following line, back then: "[Donald] Trump would be (quite obviously) nothing more than a vanity candidate...." We all had to eat a few words in 2015, and that was just one early embarrassing example from my own keyboard, I fully admit.

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