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Fifth Debate Roundup

[ Posted Thursday, November 21st, 2019 – 19:51 UTC ]

I'm veering away from the impeachment hearings today to write up my reactions to last night's fifth Democratic presidential debate. This morning's testimony was pretty powerful, and Adam Schiff's closing statement was one for the history books, but it'll all have to wait until tomorrow.

The Democratic field now has 18 people in it, as Wayne Messam formally dropped out but Michael Bloomberg formally took his place. Other than Bloomberg, the candidates who are still running but who didn't appear last night are: Deval Patrick, Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Joe Sestak, and Marianne Williamson. The ones who did appear on last night's debate stage: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, and Tom Steyer. Hopefully, by the next debate, that entire list will have shrunk a bit more, but these days you never know -- maybe it'll even get bigger!

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Three Big Developments In The Democratic Primary Race

[ Posted Monday, November 18th, 2019 – 18:13 UTC ]

In the midst of all the impeachment-mania, there have been several recent interesting developments in the Democratic presidential primary race in the past few days. We've now got one-and-a-half more candidates in the race, a major candidate either backed off (as her detractors would have it) or clarified (as her supporters will tell you) one of her main policy positions, and a poll out of Iowa has shaken up the frontrunner status in that state. So let's dig into all of these developments in an effort to see where the race stands, two days before the next nationally-televised debate.

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Friday Talking Points -- Everything's Just Impeachy-Keen

[ Posted Friday, November 15th, 2019 – 18:13 UTC ]

Rather than our usual weekly roundup, we are going to focus today solely on the public impeachment hearings. This is due to them being the most important thing that happened politically during the week, as well as the fact that we're admittedly more than a little frazzled sitting down to write this, after getting up at 6:00 A.M. and staring at the television for over six hours straight. Normally we would have used a good chunk of that time to sift the news stories from the past week, but that's simply not possible today. Nor is it all that important, because as mentioned everything else really pales in comparison to what is being witnessed right now by the American public.

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...28...29...

[ Posted Thursday, November 14th, 2019 – 17:07 UTC ]

Democrats have always been the masters of a rather dubious skill: second-guessing themselves. For any idea, proposal, or candidate for office, Democrats are continually seeking the perfect, sometimes (as the saying goes) at the expense of the good. Nowhere is this more evident than in Democratic presidential primaries. In fact, it's actually a general rule for Democrats, and it seems to be playing out once again this time around.

After a record-setting number of candidates has been battling it out for voter support for almost a full year now, some in the Democratic Party have now decided that what the race really needs is a few more candidates. This is pretty insane, obviously. To date, by my count, a whopping 27 Democrats have previously announced a bid for the presidency. These range from the well-known to people who are so obscure that few can even remember their names now, whether they've already dropped out of the race (Richard Ojeda) or are still running (Wayne Messam). Out of this incredibly wide field, 17 are still in the race. And yet this week we've seen the entry of the 28th candidate (Deval Patrick) and serious consideration by a man who would become the 29th Democrat to run (Michael Bloomberg). Maybe Democrats should go for an even 30? At this point, why not? Maybe Hillary will run again!

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Friday Talking Points -- See You In The 'Burbs, Baby!

[ Posted Friday, November 8th, 2019 – 18:56 UTC ]

Republicans, it seems, are just never satisfied. First, they howled for a full House vote on impeachment. When the Democrats gave them one, they were not happy for some unfathomable reason. Then they demanded the end to "secret hearings" with no public transcripts. This week, Democrats began releasing all the transcripts to the public. When the first two were released, Republicans complained that the transcripts released were "cherry-picked." By week's end, all the major transcripts were released, putting the lie to this notion. Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham, in a snit, said that he wouldn't be reading the transcripts, for some unfathomable reason. Next week, public hearings will begin. So of course now Republicans are decrying the very idea of public hearings, for some unfathomable reason (President Trump: "They shouldn't be having public hearings."). It's almost as if Republicans don't care what they're complaining about as long as they get to complain about something. Hey, it's easier than trying to defend the indefensible, we suppose.

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Flipping The 'Burbs

[ Posted Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 – 17:53 UTC ]

That headline is quite obviously a pun on the phrase "flipping the bird," I will fully admit. But more on bird-flipping in a moment, though. Instead, let's begin with what inspired the pun in the first place: last night's off-off-year election results. The results for the 2019 election cycle are now (mostly) in, and what they show is that the big blue wave which arose in 2018 shows no signs of ebbing. Democrats not only won the governor's race in a state that Donald Trump won by 30 points back in 2016, but they also achieved the "trifecta" in Virginia, flipping both houses of the legislature in a single election (they already held the governor's office, completing the trifecta of one-party control). But the biggest news is how they achieved such gains, and the answer is -- as it also was one year ago -- that they flipped the suburbs that Republicans used to routinely count on as strongholds.

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It's Actually A Four-Person Race At Best, Mayor Pete

[ Posted Monday, November 4th, 2019 – 18:22 UTC ]

Once again we're going to take another deep dive into the polling for the Democratic presidential field. We were inspired to do so because this weekend we passed a milestone -- we are now less than a full year away from the 2020 general election. And we're only about three months away from when the first voters get to have their say on the frozen tundra of the Iowa plains.

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Friday Talking Points -- Infair To Rupublicans!

[ Posted Friday, November 1st, 2019 – 18:02 UTC ]

Does President Trump's phone even have a spell-checker? One has to wonder, when he tweets so many idiotic misspellings on such a regular basis. This week's gem came directly after the House voted on impeachment inquiry procedures, which Trump wasn't exactly happy about:

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Friday Talking Points -- Collective Republican Amnesia

[ Posted Friday, October 25th, 2019 – 18:18 UTC ]

Remember when Republicans were the party that stood squarely for law and order? Or for that matter, remember when they used to be the party of fiscal responsibility, chock full of deficit hawks? Yeah, those were the days....

This week it was announced the annual deficit scraped the trillion-dollar ceiling last year -- figures not seen since the depths of the Great Recession. Republicans' reaction to this news? Sounds of crickets chirping. In the same week, Republicans "stormed" a secure facility, illegally carrying in and using their cell phones, in an attempt to intimidate both the committees conducting an impeachment inquiry and the witness scheduled to appear. Republicans also had to twist their pretzel logic a few more turns to explain why their previous go-to response ("There was no quid pro quo") is now, as Richard Nixon would have said, "no longer operative." Meanwhile, President Trump played the victim card once again, saying the constitutionally-sanctioned impeachment process was nothing short of a "lynching," in addition to referring to a clause in the Constitution as "phony." Trump also took the time this week to hold his very own "Mission Accomplished" moment, announcing that Syria was now a wonderful paradise, and that everyone should thank him personally for this splendiferous outcome. Nobel committee, please take note.

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A Post-Debate Look At The Democratic Polling

[ Posted Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 – 17:09 UTC ]

Today was one of those days when the inside-the-Beltway punditry drew way too many conclusions from a single poll. So I thought it be a good time to once again provide a little more context to the state of the Democratic presidential race. Because, generally, one outlier poll does not a trend make.

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