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Archive of Articles in the "Politicians" 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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Should Pelosi Hold Impeachment Inquiry Vote?

[ Posted Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 17:20 UTC ]

The biggest question Nancy Pelosi will face next week, when the House of Representatives gets back from yet another multiweek vacation, will be whether or not to hold a full floor vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry that has already begun in various House committees. There are arguments to be made both pro and con on the issue, and so far Pelosi has been resisting the pressure to hold such a vote. President Donald Trump upped the stakes on this decision by claiming in a White House letter that he's not going to comply with any subpoena or request for interviews or documents until the House holds such a vote. But it's still an open question whether he would do so even with a floor vote for the impeachment inquiry, because if he stays true to form then he'll just manufacture another specious argument for why he is continuing to stonewall Congress.

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Pelosi Should Force Republicans To Vote On Presidential Ethics Bills

[ Posted Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 – 16:57 UTC ]

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is sure getting a lot of advice from the punditocracy right now. Mostly, over the last few days, this has focused on the question of whether she should or should not hold an impeachment inquiry vote on the House floor. I'm going to ignore that issue today (perhaps to be revisited in a later column) because I feel there are other strategy ideas worth exploring, as the Democrats chart their course through the choppy waters of impeachment.

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Xi, Who Pays The Piper, Calls The Tune

[ Posted Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 – 17:10 UTC ]

I don't think I've ever used this column to comment on the world of basketball, but there's always a first time for everything. The National Basketball Association is currently struggling with a conflict between free speech and making piles of money in China. It is a struggle that many American corporations have faced before, and it boils down to one basic fact: if you want China's money, then you have to play by their rules, period. Chairman Xi is paying the piper, so he gets to call the tune. The concept is clear, and nobody's forcing any company to do business with China, but if any American company does want to tap into their billion-person market, then they've got to follow the Chinese rules for doing business there. And most of those rules are antithetical to democratic norms, which makes perfect sense because China is an authoritarian state.

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Trump Betrays The Kurds

[ Posted Monday, October 7th, 2019 – 17:06 UTC ]

All of a sudden, "letting Trump be Trump" isn't looking like such a good idea any more to many congressional Republicans. Ditto the concept of Trump conducting foreign policy on a whim, often one heavily interrelated with his own re-election prospects. Abandoning the Kurds in Syria may, in fact, turn out to be Trump's very own "red line" with the Republicans who, up until now, have given him nothing but a green light to do what he wishes on the world stage. Perhaps that's too chromatically-mixed, as metaphors go, but it has indeed been astonishing to see the swift and forceful pushback from previously-supine GOP senators and congressmen. Some of them are even talking about using veto-proof majorities to do things like slap sanctions on Turkey or even kick them out of NATO. That's quite a change from last week, you have to admit.

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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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Pelosi Has Luxury Of Setting Impeachment Timetable

[ Posted Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 – 17:02 UTC ]

House Democrats are soon going to face a stark choice. Either they wait for the court system to slowly grind its way up to the Supreme Court, and then hope that John Roberts values his legacy enough to rule in their favor; or they can just move past judicial delays altogether and draft articles of impeachment sooner rather than later. So far it seems they're more inclined to pursue the latter strategy, but it is still too early in the process to state that definitively. A court ruling limiting Trump's excessive executive privilege claims would be a valuable thing in its own right, but the question is going to be: is it worth the inevitable wait?

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Elizabeth Warren Close To Leading The Race

[ Posted Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 – 17:02 UTC ]

It's hard, when the president is literally tweeting "BULLSHIT," to focus on anything else going on in the world of politics. But today I'm going to ignore the impeachment circus and focus instead on the Democratic primary race, because several important developments are simultaneously happening which could entirely redefine the race. Elizabeth Warren continues her impressive climb in the polls, Joe Biden is beginning to falter amidst all the mud Trump has been throwing, and Bernie Sanders just had an emergency heart operation. How much each of these events will impact the race is still somewhat up in the air, but we should at least be able to see some indication before the next debate is held.

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