ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles in the "Populism" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Crunch Time

[ Posted Friday, September 24th, 2021 – 16:58 UTC ]

It's one of those rare weeks in Washington, where Congress is actually forced into doing its job -- legislating, holding hearings... you know, the things the taxpayers actually pay them to do. As usual, they are facing multiple deadlines. They deserve zero pity, though, since they just returned from their annual month-long summer vacation. If they had stayed and worked instead of gone and played, then they wouldn't be facing all these time crunches simultaneously. Which is why we say: zero pity.

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One Change That Would End California's "Recall Circus" Election Problem

[ Posted Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 – 15:14 UTC ]

It is Recall Election Day out here in California today, so I thought I'd write today in support of a rather simple change that really needs to be made in California recall elections law. This one change could solve the nightmare scenario the nation's pundits were all a-twitter (and a-Twitter) over during the slow news days of August. Not only would this one fundamental change avoid having a candidate win the governor's seat with only a tiny fraction of the overall vote, but it would significantly lessen the appeal of recall elections in the first place, for the party who lost the last regular gubernatorial election. The change? Instead of simultaneously voting on: (1) whether to recall the sitting governor, and: (2) who should replace him (if a majority votes to recall); Californians would only be presented with the first question -- the recall question. If a majority did vote to oust the sitting governor, then the lieutenant governor would immediately be sworn in.

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Friday Talking Points -- Democrats Should Lean In To Biden's New Pandemic Mandates

[ Posted Friday, September 10th, 2021 – 17:04 UTC ]

This week, President Joe Biden picked a political fight. Or, more accurately, he got up off the sidelines and engaged in a political fight that had already begun, by strongly opposing Republican politicians fighting against basic public health safety measures under the fake guise of "freedom." Biden stood squarely for science and safety, while Republicans are left to fight for recklessness and death. That is precisely how the matter should be framed politically, and so far it looks like Biden is doing a fairly good job of presenting this dichotomy to the public. He's even taking the fight directly to all the GOP governors who are sounding increasingly unhinged about the basic concepts of public health and safety.

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Reconciliation Endgame About To Begin

[ Posted Tuesday, September 7th, 2021 – 15:43 UTC ]

The next month in Congress might be the most momentous period for the institution in a very long time. We are almost down to the wire on President Joe Biden's entire economic agenda. Success seems elusive, but at the same time still achievable. If everything falls perfectly into place, Congress could pass legislation that children will learn about in history class right along with L.B.J.'s Great Society and F.D.R.'s New Deal. That's how momentous the next few weeks might be.

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Busy September Ahead For Congress

[ Posted Monday, August 30th, 2021 – 16:27 UTC ]

Next month could wind up being a very productive one for Congress, although since we are talking about Congress we have to include the standard disclaimer: "but of course there is no guarantee." But the fact that there are several deadlines looming may actually prod them into action. The big question is whether they can manage to walk and chew gum at the same time, since there is so much on their "to do" list and so little time to accomplish it all.

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Friday Talking Points -- A Grim Week

[ Posted Friday, August 27th, 2021 – 17:09 UTC ]

This was never going to be a good week for President Joe Biden. The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan pretty much guaranteed that. But although the week started out with signs of optimism -- more and more people being airlifted out of Kabul, to top 100,000 by week's end -- it ended in disaster. A suicide bomber exploded his vest right at the gate to the airport, which killed at least 13 American servicemembers and over 100 Afghans (as of this writing the official death toll for Afghans had hit 169). So while this week could have been perhaps tense but slightly optimistic, by week's end that was no longer possible. It was disastrous; there's just no other way to put it. One grim way to measure it is Biden has now made his first addition to the number he always carries around with him in his jacket pocket -- the number of fallen U.S. servicemembers from both Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The Clock Starts Ticking

[ Posted Tuesday, August 24th, 2021 – 14:40 UTC ]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just pulled off a very big win. The House just voted (220-212) to advance the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, which will allow both houses of Congress to begin hashing out the actual details and draft the language into a final bill. This was accomplished by cutting a deal with the Mod Squad -- the nine conservative House Democrats who balked at voting for the reconciliation bill before the final vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. In the end, Pelosi convinced them to do what they had sworn they wouldn't -- vote to move the reconciliation bill forward. To get them on board, Pelosi gave them an iron-clad promise to put the infrastructure bill up for a vote on September 27. Pelosi has always said she was going to schedule a vote on it "before October 1" (when transportation funding runs out, making it a hard deadline), so this wasn't all that big a concession for her to make.

Of course, there's still no guarantee Pelosi's "two-track" strategy will work, in the end. But she just moved a big step towards making it work. There are really only three important votes left in the process: the House infrastructure bill vote, and both houses passing the same version of a budget reconciliation bill. And since the infrastructure bill's clock is now ticking (with a hard deadline), it means the Senate and the House only have a little over a month to make the other two votes happen.

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The Mod Squad's Showdown With Pelosi

[ Posted Monday, August 23rd, 2021 – 16:09 UTC ]

I have to begin by clearly stating I did not personally come up with that new moniker on my own, but I am indeed going to start using it from this point on. I think I saw it first in a Politico article over the weekend, but I have to say as a snappy reference "Mod Squad" works on a number of different levels. First, baby boomer nostalgia. For those of you who are too young to remember, this was the name of a tragically-hip television show from way back. Second, it creates a nice counterbalance to "The Squad" (of progressive House Democrats). And third, it coins a new usage for "Mod," in this case a shortening of "moderate." All around, that's pretty good for a new political label, so my hat is indeed off to whomever came up with it.

Pedantic praise aside, though, the Mod Squad of nine conservative Democrats ("moderate" is a misnomer, really) is threatening to destroy any chances Democrats have of passing a huge swath of President Joe Biden's political agenda. Completely tanking any progress would almost certainly guarantee Republicans take back control of the House (and perhaps the Senate too) in next year's midterm election. So it would be partisan suicide to blow everything up. But the Mod Squad does not seem to care. This could be a rather large problem for all Democrats.

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Friday Talking Points -- Legislative Trains Running On Both Tracks

[ Posted Friday, August 13th, 2021 – 17:55 UTC ]

Astoundingly, the United States Senate just had a very productive week. We know the word "astoundingly" is a bit snarky, but we do try to be honest, after all. After months and months of delays and headfakes, this week the final two legs of President Joe Biden's three-legged economic agenda passed the Senate, just before they left on an abbreviated summer break.

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Reaganism's Death Knell

[ Posted Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 – 16:19 UTC ]

Ronald Reagan was the first president in the modern age who truly understood the importance of television cameras and snappy one-liners to advance his political agenda. This wasn't that big a surprise, seeing as how he had been a minor Hollywood movie actor and learned the impact of visual presence on the screen at an early age. He used this to great advantage both in his campaigns for president and, once he won, in the Oval Office itself. And one of his best lines was a take on a very old joke. Reagan was fond of summarizing his antipathy towards "big government" with the following quip: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help!'"

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