I actually think it would be great for the Democrats if Hillarity runs in 2020. First, as she sucked up all the oxygen the other contenders and pretenders would turn blue, which might be a good look for messaging purposes.
More importantly, whoever knocked her off would establish a bit of credibility as a giant-killer, even though "excorcist" would be more appropriate.
The only problem is that many of the same experts pushing for sanctions against Saudi Arabia have previously argued, in other contexts, that sanctions don’t work. That was the near-unanimous conclusion of top policy experts who supported the Obama administration’s decision to roll back sanctions on Iran, which had brought its economy to the brink of collapse, in exchange for a nuclear deal. It’s just one example of a broader trend: analysts suddenly discovering that the Middle East is more complex than they’d previously admitted.
The Washington Post, which now wants Saudi Arabia to pay a price for Khashoggi’s death, ran a piece just last year by Adam Taylor titled “Do Sanctions Work? The Evidence Isn’t Compelling.” Even the Post’s Jason Rezaian, who was held hostage by the Iranians and is now safely back in the United States, opposed more sanctions on Iran in a recent piece, arguing that they would only inflict more suffering on its population.
This logic is what prompted the Obama administration to engage the Iranian regime from a position of “mutual respect.” That was code for offering massive financial incentives in exchange for Iran dialing back its nuclear program. That effort began with cash payments to Iran for staying at the negotiating table. The administration then repealed sanctions in exchange for some tangible yet temporary nuclear concessions. For good measure, the Obama administration gave the Iranians more cash. That ultimately yielded a controversial nuclear deal, signed in 2015, that pressed pause on Iran’s mad dash for the bomb. Here’s the problem: By focusing exclusively on Iran’s nuclear problem, the deal effectively gave a green light to a range of other malign activity, like terrorism, missile proliferation, and support for other rogue states. In fact, that behavior only increased after the deal was signed.
That sort of policy—tying sanction relief to halting one problematic behavior, in a way that implicitly authorizes other misdeeds—is the last approach we want to apply to Saudi Arabia. And besides, it doesn’t really need the money.
The NY Times has an interesting story about a Missouri Democrat's attempt to bring her party's activist base home to the notion that the state is too conservative for the hard-line stance of the Democratic Party.
It went about as you might expect - being right is more important to the progressives than actually winning elections.
The pro-life Democrat:
She worried that the Democratic Party had moved too far left on abortion. Gone were the days when the party, under President Bill Clinton, called for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare.” She also noticed fellow Democrats showing contempt for her when they learned her stance on abortion.
On June 30, when dozens of Democratic State Committee members gathered in a university conference room in Jefferson City to vote on the new platform, Ms. Barry nervously introduced her plank. It said that the party recognized “the diversity of views” on abortion and “we welcome into our ranks all Missourians who may hold different positions on this issue.”
“My stomach dropped,” said Ms. Merritt, who had agreed to join the committee after the party’s steep losses of 2016, thinking she needed to do more than criticize from the sidelines.
In her view, Missouri Democrats needed more progressive politics, not less.
“I don’t understand Democrats who quote Truman and F.D.R. and then act like they are terrified to run as an actual Democrat,” said Ms. Merritt, 45, who lives in St. Louis. “You have to believe in something in order for somebody to believe in you. You can’t be such a watered-down thing.”
The fight over abortion in the party, she said, epitomized that. So she sprang into action, talking on Facebook and Twitter with hundreds of angry progressives, some of whom were threatening to stop their donations, calling her fellow committee members, and ultimately the party’s chairman.
“I felt horrified that someone would associate me with that bizarre, regressive anti-woman language,” she said.
The party was trying to placate people who opposed abortion at the very moment that abortion was most under threat, Ms. Merritt said. Days before the vote, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy had announced his retirement and the court had backed anti-abortion pregnancy centers. Missouri, one of the most restrictive states in the country, is now down to one abortion clinic.
“The last thing we needed was for that language to linger,” she said of the plank. “It was a foul stench that needed to be addressed sooner rather than later.”
"Foul stench". Let's pencil her in as "Maybe not open for a calm discussion".
Finally, words of wisdom from an older Democrat about the benefits of compromising:
That is simply savvy politics [referring to Sen. McCaskill ducking the issue during her campaign], said Christopher Kelly, a retired judge from Columbia who served nine terms in the Legislature, several with Ms. McCaskill. He said Ms. McCaskill has a near perfect Democratic voting record on abortion, and believes the struggle points to a larger problem among young progressives.
“They operate in this fantasy,” he said, “that we’re going to have a political renaissance or enlightenment, where everyone is going to decide that their ideas — the ideas of the lefties — are now their ideas.”
He added: “You will not win seats, because even though people might agree with you on some of the issues, you will scare them away. You will seem alien to them.”
He said history does not support the claim that more anti-abortion Democrats in the Legislature translates to less abortion rights. Many of the restrictions have come more recently, he said, since Republicans have gained the majority.
“When you become contemptuous of conservative Democrats, you promote the election of their opponents,” said Mr. Kelly, who believes it was a mistake to scrap Ms. Barry’s plank. “And their opponents are 100 percent worse for the environment, 100 percent worse for working people, 100 percent worse for L.G.B.T. people, for women, for black people, for immigrants.”
I mean, duh. But not for the progressive highlighted here, who gets the last word:
Ms. Merritt admits that some districts may be difficult for Democrats to win, but that is partly because the party has not really tried to persuade people. Candidates need to seize the chance this fall to teach people why Democratic ideas are better, she said.
“I believe 110 percent that if we run on full-throated, unapologetic progressive politics, we will win,” she said.
She added: “At a certain point, when you compromise your values, you are not winning. How far are we going to bend over before we tumble and fall?”
You keep on believing, sweetie. Trump will keep on winning.
The progressives would rather try to amend the Constitution and pack the courts rather than moderate their positions on abortion, guns and immigration. And they will continue to struggle in flyover country. But they'll raise lots of Hollywood money!
The AP headlines [transcript] the idea that Trump won't take responsibility for a Democratic takeover of the House. And should he? Trump raises the valid point that a midterm setback is quite normal, as Reagan, Clinton and Obama can attest (Bush 43 washed out in his second midterm but gained seats in the first, joining FDR as modern Presidents with first midterm gains.)
The AP also makes this hagiographic claim:
AP: Eight years ago, Barack Obama said he got shellacked, so you know, taking the outcome of the election as a referendum on himself.
Well, yeah, not really. Several early questions prodded him to accept the election as a repudiation of the health care bill or his overall agenda and he declined. This is fro his opening statement:
Now, I ran for this office to tackle these challenges and give voice to the concerns of everyday people. Over the last two years, we’ve made progress. But, clearly, too many Americans haven’t felt that progress yet, and they told us that yesterday. And as President, I take responsibility for that.
And the first question, from Bern Feller of the AP:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Are you willing to concede at all that what happened last night was not just an expression of frustration about the economy, but a fundamental rejection of your agenda? And given the results, who do you think speaks to the true voice of the American people right now: you or John Boehner?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that there is no doubt that people’s number-one concern is the economy. And what they were expressing great frustration about is the fact that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy. We’ve stabilized the economy. We’ve got job growth in the private sectors. But people all across America aren’t feeling that progress. They don't see it. And they understand that I’m the President of the United States, and that my core responsibility is making sure that we’ve got an economy that's growing, a middle class that feels secure, that jobs are being created. And so I think I've got to take direct responsibility for the fact that we have not made as much progress as we need to make.
The "shellacking" came later.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. How do you respond to those who say the election outcome, at least in part, was voters saying that they see you as out of touch with their personal economic pain? And are you willing to make any changes in your leadership style?
THE PRESIDENT: There is a inherent danger in being in the White House and being in the bubble. I mean, folks didn’t have any complaints about my leadership style when I was running around Iowa for a year. And they got a pretty good look at me up close and personal, and they were able to lift the hood and kick the tires, and I think they understood that my story was theirs. I might have a funny name, I might have lived in some different places, but the values of hard work and responsibility and honesty and looking out for one another that had been instilled in them by their parents, those were the same values that I took from my mom and my grandparents.
And so the track record has been that when I’m out of this place, that's not an issue. When you’re in this place, it is hard not to seem removed. And one of the challenges that we’ve got to think about is how do I meet my responsibilities here in the White House, which require a lot of hours and a lot of work, but still have that opportunity to engage with the American people on a day-to-day basis, and know -- give them confidence that I’m listening to them.
Those letters that I read every night, some of them just break my heart. Some of them provide me encouragement and inspiration. But nobody is filming me reading those letters. And so it’s hard, I think, for people to get a sense of, well, how is he taking in all this information?
So I think there are more things that we can do to make sure that I’m getting out of here. But, I mean, I think it’s important to point out as well that a couple of great communicators, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, were standing at this podium two years into their presidency getting very similar questions because the economy wasn’t working the way it needed to be and there were a whole range of factors that made people concerned that maybe the party in power wasn’t listening to them. This is something that I think every President needs to go through because the responsibilities of this office are so enormous and so many people are depending on what we do, and in the rush of activity, sometimes we lose track of the ways that we connected with folks that got us here in the first place.
And that’s something that -- now, I’m not recommending for every future President that they take a shellacking like they -- like I did last night. (Laughter.) I’m sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. But I do think that this is a growth process and an evolution. And the relationship that I’ve had with the American people is one that built slowly, peaked at this incredible high, and then during the course of the last two years, as we’ve, together, gone through some very difficult times, has gotten rockier and tougher. And it’s going to, I’m sure, have some more ups and downs during the course of me being in this office.
But the one thing that I just want to end on is getting out of here is good for me, too, because when I travel around the country, even in the toughest of these debates -- in the midst of health care last year during the summer when there were protesters about, and when I’m meeting families who’ve lost loved ones in Afghanistan or Iraq -- I always come away from those interactions just feeling so much more optimistic about this country.
Elizabeth Warren clears the path for her 2020 Presidential run by releasing results of a DNA test showing she definitely maybe has a glimpse of Native American ancestry. My favorite bit is this, my emphasis:
Warren said she was committed to releasing the report regardless of the results. However, Warren’s aides would not say whether she or any of her three siblings had previously done a commercial DNA test that would have provided them with some assurance about Bustamante’s analysis.
Well, when did she announce she was submitting a sample to be analyzed? Google News is not her friend here, since it comes up dry for 2018 on any sort of bold, 'roll dem bones' pre-announcement. I sort of think she was committed to releasing the results unless she found a reason not to.
It's also interesting to see how little of her own life story she remembers, especially since it was only a week ago that Democrats were memory experts who thought Brett Kavanaugh ought to remember every damn thing he did in high school. Yes, I'm still bitter. But hiding it!
Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection hangs up the No Sale sign. And I will give the often partisan Chris Cilizza props for his analysis of the politics behind Warren's big PR push, particularly this answer to "Why now?":
The answer, of course, is because she is running for president in 2020. And she wants to do two things with this video:
1) Stamp out a whisper campaign (or more) from her likely Democratic opponents -- and Trump -- about whether she lied about her background
2) Send a message to Democratic activists and donors that she is 100% going to fight back -- and fight back hard
Wait, what - other Democrats might use this against her, not just hate-filled racist Republicans? The earth paused in its rotation. Later we'll learn that Willie Horton attacks originated with Al Gore in 1988 and the birther movement was promoted by Hillary dead-enders. Whatever. Darn, my bitterness is showing again!
At a July 5 rally in Montana, President Trump went on a lengthy rant about one of his favorite targets: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and her claim to Native American ancestry.
Even then, Warren was rumored to be a likely Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. Trump, with glee, told the rally crowd he looked forward to making Warren “prove” her Native American heritage on the debate stage if the two were to square off.
“I’m going to get one of those little [DNA testing] kits and in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims she’s of Indian heritage...," Trump said. “And we will say, ‘I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian.' "
The crowd cheered.
“And let’s see what she does,” Trump continued. “I have a feeling she will say no, but we’ll hold that for the debates. Do me a favor. Keep it within this room?”
Obviously, they are not debating, she is not the Democratic nominee and Trump didn't pick the testing service.
Sen. Warren could sue on the basis of detrimental reliance but she'd never win.
Stark political divide points to a split decision in midterm elections
By Paul Kane The Washington Post Oct 13, 2018
WASHINGTON — The divide in American politics is so stark that analysts are beginning to predict something that seldom happens: One party could make big gains in the House while the other adds seats in the Senate.
Not since 1970 has a midterm election provided such a split verdict, and only two other presidential elections, in 1996 and 1972, have demonstrated such division in congressional elections.
Now, particularly after the contentious Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Democratic energy is up in the suburban districts that will determine the House majority — just as Republicans claim conservative voters have been jolted awake in rural states that will determine the Senate majority.
Democrats could gain more than the 23 seats needed to take the House majority, which would normally be considered a “wave election” for Democrats up and down the ballot.
But Senate Republicans have gone from clinging to the narrowest of margins, a 51-to-49 majority, to believing they will gain seats, possibly three, the sort of result that would normally mean the national GOP had a very good night.
If I can spin the dial on election night and see tears in the eyes of both Rachel AND the Foxies it's a good night.
"It also gave you a general who was incredible. He drank a little bit too much. You know who I’m talking about right? So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee.
He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, 'I can’t beat Robert E. Lee.' And he had all of his generals, they looked great, they were the top of their class at West Point. They were the greatest people. There’s only one problem — they didn’t know how the hell to win. They didn’t know how to fight. They didn’t know how.
And one day, it was looking really bad. And Lincoln just said, 'You,' hardly knew his name. And they said, 'Don’t take him, he’s got a drinking problem.' And Lincoln said, 'I don’t care what problem he has. You guys aren’t winning.'
And his name was Grant. General Grant. And he went in and he knocked the hell out of everyone. And you know the story. They said to Lincoln, 'You can’t use him anymore, he’s an alcoholic.' And Lincoln said, 'I don’t care if he’s an alcoholic, frankly, give me six or seven more just like him.' He started to win. Grant really did — he had a serious problem, a serious drinking problem, but man was he a good general. And he’s finally being recognized as a great general.
But Lincoln had almost developed a phobia, because he was having a hard time with a true great fighter, a great general Robert E. Lee.But Grant figured it out. And Grant is a great general, and Grant came from right here."