ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles in the "Populism" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Republicans Show Their True Colors

[ Posted Friday, January 27th, 2023 – 17:58 UTC ]

President Joe Biden gave a speech this week on the state of the American economy. On his watch, the economy has greatly improved as we all dug ourselves out of the pandemic recession together. So Biden deserves a victory lap. He also used the speech to draw a stark comparison between Democrats responsibly steering the economy and Republicans who apparently are salivating at the prospect of blowing it all up.

Read Complete Article »

Let New Hampshire Go First

[ Posted Thursday, January 26th, 2023 – 17:17 UTC ]

At President Joe Biden's urging, the Democratic National Committee has picked a big and (in my opinion) a completely unnecessary fight with the state of New Hampshire. Last year, when the party met to decide which states would go first in the presidential primary calendar, Biden blindsided just about everyone with his own preferred schedule. Earlier, the party had announced there would be a free-for-all for states to apply for early primary slots, which was largely seen as a convenient way to demote Iowa from the early states, for multiple reasons (the largest being how incompetent they had been in 2020). This conventional wisdom held that one or perhaps even two other additional states would be elevated to the ranks of the early-voting states, again for multiple reasons. But few predicted that New Hampshire would be affected. This proved to be wrong, as Biden released his preferred schedule: South Carolina would be the "first in the nation" state, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire three days later (both voting on the same day). Yesterday, the party met again and instead of locking in Biden's new schedule, gave two states until June to comply with the new setup -- New Hampshire and Georgia (which was newly elevated into the ranks of early-voting states).

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points -- Biden's First Two Years

[ Posted Friday, January 20th, 2023 – 18:27 UTC ]

Two years ago today, Joseph Robinette Biden Junior was sworn in as the nation's 46th president. So how is he doing at his job? His approval rating in public opinion polls has generally improved since the midterm elections, hitting numbers he hasn't seen in a year. But those numbers are still south of 45 percent (on average), which is fairly common for a first-term president but certainly nothing to brag about.

Biden has had some notable successes as president, and some notable rocky patches as well. He entered office as the COVID-19 vaccines were becoming widely and freely available, and things seemed rosy on this front for his first year, only to get a lot grimmer as the Omicron strain hit much harder than any of the previous variants of the virus. All of a sudden we weren't done with COVID-19 and life didn't return to normal as expected. But since then, the virus has become almost an afterthought and didn't matter much to voters in the midterms (even though it had been predicted that it would be a major issue).

Biden's legislative accomplishments are more impressive than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson. True, Biden did have a Democratic Senate and House to work with, but both of those had historically-slender majorities -- L.B.J., for instance, had as many as 68 Democratic senators to work with. Biden only had 50 -- including two who loved the media spotlight so much they didn't care if they torpedoed Biden's agenda in major ways. Biden also managed to pass some major bills with bipartisan support, which is almost miraculous, these days.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points -- Joe's Garage

[ Posted Friday, January 13th, 2023 – 17:43 UTC ]

With apologies to Frank Zappa, this week's big political story might be summed up as coming from "Joe's garage." But we'll get to all of that in a moment, down in the awards section (it shouldn't be any mystery which one he's going to get). First, though, let's take a look at the other momentous things that happened during the past week.

This column, of course, measures weeks from Friday afternoon to Friday afternoon. As we were writing last week, the House of Representatives was still deadlocked over who would become the next speaker. This continued far into the night, until Kevin McCarthy finally emerged victorious. Weakened, bloodied, diminished... but finally victorious.

Read Complete Article »

A Parliament Of Badgers

[ Posted Monday, January 9th, 2023 – 17:51 UTC ]

After an excruciatingly-long battle, newly-anointed Speaker Kevin McCarthy began business in the Republican House of Representatives today. He's already reportedly having problems with the first order of business -- voting for a package of rules the House will operate under for the next two years. Some (especially on the left) are making bets on how long McCarthy will even be able to keep his gavel, since one of the new rules will allow any one House member to call what is essentially a "no confidence" vote to oust McCarthy at any time. Or to sum all of this up, the rollercoaster ride we all went through last week doesn't look like it's about to end any time soon.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points -- The Reign Of Chaos Begins

[ Posted Friday, January 6th, 2023 – 19:40 UTC ]

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez summed up the week better than anyone else, we thought, with her remark: "In chaos, anything is possible, especially in this era."

This is where we find ourselves on the fourth solid day of watching C-SPAN broadcasting what is normally a pretty sleepy affair: the vote to elect a new speaker of the House of Representatives. Normally, that is singular: "vote." We haven't had more than one vote in 100 years, in fact. But this week, we are already up to 13 votes, with the 14th scheduled (possibly, they could just adjourn again) for 10:00 Eastern time tonight. And nobody's sure if there is even an end in sight.

Read Complete Article »

Nihilists Gotta Nihil

[ Posted Thursday, January 5th, 2023 – 16:47 UTC ]

To sum up today's proceedings in the House of Representatives, we turn to the esteemed and well-respected political thinkers Monty Python's Flying Circus:

Read Complete Article »

A Giant And Embarrassing Defeat

[ Posted Wednesday, January 4th, 2023 – 17:01 UTC ]

As the sun sinks slowly in the west... as the stormclouds continue to gather... welcome to another episode of As The House Turns....

Sorry if I'm a little loopy, but watching six consecutive roll-call votes in the House of Representatives has done that to me. The clown parade continues, with no real end in sight, although the Republicans have now introduced a twist to the story by only agreeing to adjourn the chamber for a few hours. They will reconvene at 8:00 tonight, which is odd -- I mean, do they really want this to be on primetime television? For what possible purpose? Self-flagellation? Straight-up masochism? But then trying to figure out Republican motivations at this point is no more than a fool's game, so we'll just have to see what happens.

Read Complete Article »

The Circus Opens With A Clown Parade

[ Posted Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 – 15:58 UTC ]

I knew that Kevin McCarthy would be weak, but I have to admit I didn't expect he'd prove to be this weak, this soon. As I write this, the third vote for speaker is in progress [note: while editing this, the House adjourned until noon tomorrow...]. McCarthy will lose this one, just like he lost the first two. So far, the votes have been functionally identical: 212 votes for Hakeem Jeffries (the Democratic leader), 203 votes for McCarthy, and 19 votes for other Republicans. On the first vote the "other" was split, but in the second round and (so far) the third, the GOP opposition has lined up behind Jim Jordan. Who actually voted for McCarthy. In other words, the three-ring GOP House of Representatives has opened with a clown parade.

Read Complete Article »

My 2022 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Friday, December 23rd, 2022 – 19:51 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second of our year-end awards columns! And if you missed it last Friday, go check out [Part 1] as well.

As always, this is long. Horrendously long. Insanely long. It takes a lot of stamina to read all the way to the end. You have been duly warned! But because it is so long, we certainly don't want to add any more here at the start, so let's just dive in, shall we?

Read Complete Article »