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Friday Talking Points -- The Calm After The Storm

[ Posted Friday, September 30th, 2022 – 17:00 UTC ]

We've long thought that America is at her best when disaster strikes. We've thought this since the massive 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, in fact, which we rode out in San Francisco. And we saw firsthand that when life is disrupted, it is disrupted equally. Everyone is affected, so everyone puts aside all their differences and just pitches in to help in the immediate aftermath. Maybe this is a rosy-tinted view, but it still holds mostly true.

Case in point is Hurricane Ian, which just devastated Florida and seems on its way to devastate the Carolinas next. Ian has been one of the biggest hurricanes in American history already (fifth-largest, from one news report) and we haven't even begun to comprehend the scope of the damage or how long it will take to recover from it. The damage isn't even over yet, and most of the East Coast will at least get some heavy rains before Ian disintegrates.

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Friday Talking Points -- Trump's "Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irreversible Declassification" Defense

[ Posted Friday, September 23rd, 2022 – 17:26 UTC ]

We do try to avoid it in general, but this week it is impossible not to lead our news wrap-up with the ongoing Donald Trump Follies. Spoiler alert: it wasn't a very good week in Trumpland.

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The Lame Duck Will Be Busy

[ Posted Monday, September 19th, 2022 – 14:34 UTC ]

The lame-duck Congress, which will take place from just after the midterm election to the end of the calendar year, is shaping up to be a rather busy one. This isn't too unusual, since punting things to the lame-duck period is always a tempting option for politicians worried about their re-election. But this year's lame duck might be more significant than most, because of what is being teed up for it. They'll only have two months to act on all of it, minus all the breaks they'll take for the November and December holidays. And it looks like they'll have a lot to get done.

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Friday Talking Points -- Ukraine, Trains, And Lindsey Graham

[ Posted Friday, September 16th, 2022 – 17:13 UTC ]

We fully admit that headline isn't really close enough to the original to trip off the tongue very well. But we're in an optimistically cheerful mood, so we're not going to change it.

These were really the three big political stories of the week. Last weekend saw the culmination of an incredible performance by the Ukrainian military. Within a week, they had retaken over 2,000 square miles of their country, as the Russian invading forces mostly just fled. That is beyond impressive, and may prove to be a real turning point in the whole war.

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Lindsey Graham Creates Some Headlines

[ Posted Tuesday, September 13th, 2022 – 15:22 UTC ]

Senator Lindsey Graham today decided he'd like to be headline news. That's really the only possible conclusion I can draw, since what he did and the timing of it are so downright incomprehensible, politically-speaking. Graham introduced a nationwide 15-week abortion ban, with less than two months to run before an election that was already becoming dominated by the abortion issue. The incomprehensible thing is that all the data have pointed to the fact that the abortion issue is motivating Democratic voters, and also motivating independent voters to vote Democratic. So why would Graham shoot his own party in the foot in such spectacular fashion? I have no idea, other than "because he wanted to see his name in the news." It's the only conclusion I can come up with, really.

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Friday Talking Points -- Winning The Culture Wars

[ Posted Friday, September 9th, 2022 – 17:07 UTC ]

For decades now, Republicans have very effectively been using "culture war" issues to entice voters to vote against Democrats. Democrats are routinely pictured as being out of the mainstream and out of touch. This used to work wonders for them. But the shoe seems to be on the other foot this year. This shift is mostly due not to Democratic politicians switching tactics so much as the electorate itself changing its mind on a number of big culture war issues.

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Even A Big Midterm Loss Won't Matter To Trump

[ Posted Wednesday, September 7th, 2022 – 15:12 UTC ]

Will Donald Trump's influence over the Republican Party ever wane? That question has frustrated many who sincerely hope the answer might someday be "yes," because it just never seems to really happen. Which brings up the next possibility for such a partywide epiphany: if Republicans blow the midterm elections in a big and spectacular way, how much of the blame will attach to Trump? He will certainly deserve a whopping portion of the blame, but whether any of it actually sticks to him is an open question.

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Friday Talking Points -- Dark Brandon Rips Into MAGA Republicans

[ Posted Friday, September 2nd, 2022 – 15:43 UTC ]

The White House seems to be having just a wee bit too much fun with the whole "Dark Brandon" meme. Because they actually set the stage for it last night, in Philadelphia.

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Trump Done? Well, Maybe Not.

[ Posted Tuesday, August 30th, 2022 – 15:46 UTC ]

Donald Trump's political obituary has been written so many times it is now somewhat of a running joke. "Trump Surely Must Be Toast This Time" is a headline that just keeps on giving, because each and every time the answer turns out to be: "Nope, false alarm, his followers are unfazed." This time, however, what's notable is that the "Trump's Done!" stories seem to be coming more and more from his own diehard supporters in the rightwing media echo chamber. The knee-jerk echoes are dying down, to stretch the metaphor, no matter how loudly Trump shouts.

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What Could A Filibuster-Free Democratic Congress Get Done?

[ Posted Monday, August 29th, 2022 – 15:46 UTC ]

Even though it is a Monday, I find myself in an optimistic mood. Maybe it's just the end of the political Silly Season, but I found myself wondering what would happen if the Democrats truly ran the tables in the midterms and wound up still in control of the House of Representatives and with at least 52 senators in the Senate (so Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin could be politely told to go fly a kite by Chuck Schumer and the rest of the Democrats). What could they get done? What would their agenda look like, with a Democrat in the White House ready to sign whatever passed? I know, I know, it is still the longest of longshots -- Democrats will likely still lose the House even if they manage to expand their majority in the Senate -- but like I said, I'm feeling optimistic, so let's just assume it does somehow come to pass.

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