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Friday Talking Points [447] -- Donald Trump, Loser

[ Posted Friday, July 28th, 2017 – 17:17 PDT ]

It was just another week in Trumpland, folks. By that we mean more scandalous behavior and bumbling incompetence packed into one single week than most White House administrations show during an entire term of office. The week really began with the news last Friday that Sean Spicer had decided to quit, upon hearing that Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci was to be his new boss. The week ended (the news is breaking even as we write this) that Trump is sacking his chief of staff, Reince Priebus. During the week, Trump also tried his darndest to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to quit in frustration, while rumors appeared that Rex Tillerson is planning his "Rexit" as well. For good measure, Mooch fired an underling of his, and then just threatened to fire his entire department if he couldn't figure out who was doing all the leaking. In other words, it's getting kind of crowded beneath the Trump bus, as more and more people are casually thrown under it (and as the wheels begin to come off entirely). Just another wacky week at the Trump White House, in other words. Maybe Reince got tired of all the winning?

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Democrats Offer Up "A Better Deal"

[ Posted Monday, July 24th, 2017 – 16:15 PDT ]

It's really tough these days for Democrats to break into the news cycle. Today, for instance, we had the president's son-in-law testifying behind closed doors to a congressional committee, a new White House communications director staring his first full work week, and Senate Republicans desperately trying to figure out what particular bill they're going to bring up for a vote this week on healthcare (the one that kicks 23 million off their insurance, or the one that kicks 32 million off their insurance?). Plus, as always, there is Donald Trump's Twitter account -- which is always good for at least two or three distractions per day. So it's tough to get noticed, with everything else that's going on in Washington. But this maelstrom of Republican chaos isn't likely to get any better any time soon, so Democrats have to forge ahead in their efforts to gain some political attention.

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Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages

[ Posted Thursday, July 20th, 2017 – 16:44 PDT ]

Democrats seem to be almost ready to unveil their messaging for the 2018 election cycle. Ever since the disastrous 2016 election, they've been regrouping and trying to figure out a way forward. They did not launch a formal examination of what went wrong last year (unlike Republicans in 2013, there has been no "post-mortem" or "autopsy" document from the Democrats), instead they have focused on tightening up their message to move forward next year. The Washington Post just ran a preview of the Democratic strategizing, and reports that Democrats will be rolling out the whole thing next Monday.

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Friday Talking Points [444] -- To Insanity And Beyond!

[ Posted Friday, July 7th, 2017 – 16:52 PDT ]

Sometimes, even when reading professional journalism, you have to connect the dots on your own. This week both the president and the vice-president interacted with NASA, and the results were... well... kind of spacey.

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At Least We're Not The Other Guys? Really?

[ Posted Thursday, July 6th, 2017 – 17:26 PDT ]

So the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running a few new campaign slogans up the old flagpole, but so far it doesn't seem like many people are saluting them. It's the D.C.C.C.'s job to get more Democrats elected to the House of Representatives, and part of that job is to help out Democratic candidates with messaging they can use in their campaigns. But what they came up with is pretty insipid -- and I'm even bending over backwards to be polite, at that.

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Democrats Should Bring Back The Public Option

[ Posted Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 – 17:17 PDT ]

Up until now, congressional Democrats have been smart to merely stand on the sidelines and watch Republicans flail on their "repeal and replace Obamacare" efforts. This follows the sound political theory of: "When your opponent is digging his own grave, don't interrupt him." But at some point in the near future, Democrats are going to have to offer up their own better ideas for what to do next on healthcare. There are already many pushing for single-payer or (as Bernie Sanders likes to call it) "Medicare for all." This, however, is quite likely a bridge too far -- even within the Democratic Party. Instead of such a radical change, Democrats would do much better to rally around a more transitional idea that was jettisoned during the drafting of the Obamacare law: the public option.

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Will Meanness Win The Day? If So, It'll Happen Quickly.

[ Posted Monday, June 26th, 2017 – 16:05 PDT ]

The next few days are going to be pretty frantic in the Senate. The Congressional Budget Office just released its scoring of the Republican "repeal and replace" healthcare bill, and the numbers are almost as dismal as the House version's. But will it matter? At this point, it's impossible to really predict, as the entire political world waits to see what senators like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have to say about it.

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Friday Talking Points [442] -- Trump Did Not Deny Tapes Exist!

[ Posted Friday, June 23rd, 2017 – 17:26 PDT ]

Every so often, we have a certain reaction to a bit of political news. We then fully expect at least a few other political commentators to have the same reaction, only to be surprised when it seems that nobody else read things the way we did. This is precisely where we find ourselves over President Donald Trump's recent tweets, where he supposedly put the issue to rest of whether secret audio recordings were ever made in his White House. Everybody seems to be buying his spin, and nobody questioned the obvious loophole he left himself. Because if you read what he wrote and take it at face value (not reading more into it than he actually says), Trump still has not answered the question of whether such tapes exist or not. Not even close.

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Time For Nancy Pelosi To Go?

[ Posted Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 – 17:48 PDT ]

In the aftermath of this week's special House election in Georgia, the question has arisen whether Nancy Pelosi should continue to hold the House Minority Leader position, heading into the 2018 midterm elections. It's a valid question, since Republican Karen Handel seemed almost to be running against Pelosi herself, if you saw any of her campaign ads or literature. Her entire strategy seemed to be to link neophyte politician Jon Ossoff with Pelosi -- and not in a good way. It's impossible to tell how much this contributed to Ossoff's loss, but if the answer to that question turns out to be "four percent of the vote or more," then demonizing Pelosi would have been the difference between his winning and losing. So is it time for Nancy to go?

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Deserved Or Not, Georgia House Race Will Have Consequences

[ Posted Monday, June 19th, 2017 – 16:21 PDT ]

After tomorrow night's special House election results in the sixth congressional district in Georgia ("GA-6") are known, there will be a bumper crop of political commentary attempting to explain "what it all means going forward." No matter what the outcome, dire consequences will be predicted for one side of the aisle or the other. Sweeping conclusions will be drawn and confident predictions made by pundits far and wide. In the end the GA-6 election may deserve all of this attention, but then again there's an equal chance that it may not. But deserved or not, there will be real political consequences in the medium-term, as one party or the other may radically shift its campaign strategy for the 2018 midterms based on tomorrow night's results. So it will wind up being a consequential election, even if all of the fulminating about "what it all means" turns out to be incorrect.

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