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This is a legitimate question. She had to have known that the 2019-2020 term was going to involve a lot of conflict with Trump and his cronies, which she so very clearly?does not want to be dealing with. So why deal with it? Nobody is indispensable and it’s not like anybody would fault an 80 year old for deciding that her best days were behind her. Hell, if her last act had been to win back the House* and then hand it off to somebody else (somebody who is not Steny Hoyer), it would have made her legend all the greater. Instead the legend is basically in tatters now, as she’s made it abundantly clear that there is no Trump crime so great that it will move the Democratic House to do anything, because what’s important is trying to pass a bill about prescription drugs with Trump (!) that wouldn’t make a goddamn bit of difference (I think 25 drugs should take care of one shelf of my local CVS) and that is dead on arrival at any rate. It’s hard not to conclude that the 2018 midterms were about different things for us and for them: for us it was about finally fighting back against Trump, for them it was mainly about getting those fancy gavels back. Hope they enjoy them.

I really don’t want Donald Trump to win another term, though the thought of Pelosi, Schumer, and the rest of those superannuated schmucks getting the blame for their useless “opposition” does make me happy. Obviously Biden would get some blame too but the downside of Trump losing in 2020 is that these people will again get a pass for being terrible.

* The fundamentals were what won the House, ultimately, but I wouldn’t say the healthcare strategy hurt.

Lev filed this under: ,  

I’m not saying that they’re all bad, but virtually all of them are. If your lifetime goal is being president (as opposed to, say, having a rewarding career that leads to great success and puts you in a position where that is an actual and sudden possibility), then what sort of career are you going to have? I mean the answer to that is obviously Joe Biden’s: doing whatever the powerful want done with some occasional embellishments and fripperies for the 99% in the hopes that the big money people owe you when the time comes. But then when you run it’s nothing but, “Hey, what about when you did this?” Seems as though that would get tiresome since the point of all that stuff wasn’t for them. Also it’s your whole life for years and you’re probably not going to be the president, so it’s most likely time wasted. I don’t get it.

Out of the top five Dems, the ones who have been running for president forever are obviously Biden, Harris and Buttigieg. Just obvious. Warren was apolitical until the ‘90s and if Sanders had really had this as a lifelong goal, it wouldn’t have happened when he was 74 years old with a half-assed campaign that started at the last possible minute. (I would argue that the experience of the 2016 campaign in many respects converted Sanders into the sort of person who runs for president his whole lifetime, but we’ve been over that.) Biden’s obviously been trying for 31 years now and Buttigieg kept to the plan he made up when he was fifteen or something even though the great office from which he is running is a mid-sized college town mayoralty and the time is not right for another try at electing Gary Hart. The weirdest thing about this is how bad Harris is at doing the thing she has been wanting to do forever and I don’t really have an answer for that. Sometimes you think you’re FDR but you’re really Jeb Bush, I guess.

Lev filed this under: ,  

Yeah, I’m being a little bit of a dick with this, and by all accounts he might actually be done this time. But I’ll have to see it to believe it. I know enough about Israeli politics to know that various parties who insist they won’t make a deal to join party X pretty often then make that deal later on and suffer few consequences. And, frankly, I have zero faith that any other Israeli government will do anything to fix the situation with the Palestinians. They’ll make it worse less quickly, perhaps, but who even knows about that?

My own rooting interest here is in a) Trump’s insane mutual defense pact idea falling flat with a Bibi loss, and b) the end of Bibi as the spewer of wild conspiracy theories every year at the AIPAC conference, and just his influence in American politics generally:

I’ve never understood why so many Democrats really value relationships with a man who is essentially a Republican operative, but they genuinely seem to. An end to that would be great! But who knows if that will happen.

Lev filed this under:  

I was absolutely positive that SNL hired Shane Gillis because of the hate speech. It made sense to me: after all, they did have Trump host after the campaign started, and it’s been a good long while since SNL caused any buzz. The notion that any media interest would have any principled aversion to the alt-right is simply implausible to me at this point. Plus, this is a huge corporation we’re dealing with and just missing stuff like that is not what they do. There’s a certain sort of sloppiness that isn’t plausible to me from that kind of an organization. That they just fired the guy gives me some pause in that theory but not all that much, I tend to think that they misjudged the reaction and panicked. All I can say is that I’m genuinely curious to see that audition tape when it leaks out. Could be interesting.

I will give the man credit for being classy about it, but given that he’s just achieved a lifetime of well-compensated work as a “free speech warrior,” I guess he has every reason to be happy.

Lev filed this under:  

Every time I’ve read or heard anything about him, he immediately reminds me of all the ideas and attitudes I find most repellent about Silicon Valley tech bros. It’s kind of astonishing just how absolutely terrible this dude is. For one thing, if Trump were in decent shape, he would make boasts exactly like this, which is something to be grateful for I suppose. It makes me mad though because Yang said it and actually made me feel sorry for Donald motherfucking Trump?for being bullied over his appearance by some rich young fit macho dude. Honestly, that’s enough to get me to hate both of them.?But the thing yesterday with giving ten randos $120k is so bizarre. This is being passed off as a “pilot program,” which makes it sound like a legit public policy research activity, but I remember enough basic statistics from college to know that an n of 10 is much too small to draw any conclusions from, and ultimately, what conclusions are to be drawn? That it’s great to have that much more money in your life? Hell yeah it would be. But is that a premise that needs to be proven? And there’s actually quite a bit of research into how people process one-time windfalls at this point. Given the specified one-year duration of this “experiment,” one would expect this money to mostly be saved or used to pay down debt. If this idea actually does go through and the money doesn’t mysteriously wind up disappearing somewhere (perish the thought!), my guess is that this experiment will prove the conventional wisdom correct. Good use of campaign funds, though I suppose most campaign fundraising goes to advertising anyway, and he did get a fair amount of that for the price of $1.2 million. Pretty impressive to buy that amount of free media.

I can’t speak to the legal aspects of this, you can go here for that. But let’s be honest about this. All Yang has done here is to rebrand the idea of a raffle. If you donate to Andrew Yang, Esq., for President 2020, you get a raffle ticket that might get you $120,000. Put that way, it sounds pathetic and desperate. But he managed to put a cool, techie/political slant on it, and it created buzz and got people talking. It’s the Techbro way! And it also deserves to be said that UBI itself is a complete grift on the part of capitalists who want to find some more money someplace for consumers to spend so that they can keep on posting EXPLOSIVE EXPONENTIAL GROWTH. God forbid they reach a sustainable equilibrium and just spend their time perfecting and improving what they offer the public. I guess the upside is that UBI will never, ever, ever happen due to political impossibility. Anyway, kudos to Yang for piling grift on top of grift in a way that seems new for this side of the aisle anyway. It will be some time before the Democrats catch up with Republicans on the possibilities of political grift, but Yang definitely gives us a strong start. Shame that the show Silicon Valley?is ending, they could have worked a Yang equivalent into the mix. Might have been funny.

Lev filed this under: ,  

I had a hunch as to why Biden does a bit better head to head versus Trump than other Democrats and after looking at some polling crosstabs my hunch was correct:

                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
Biden                61%    53%    51%    53%    42%    56%    49%    84%    63%
Trump                29     37     42     41     52     38     45      6     29
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      2      1      -      2      -      1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      4      3      1      1      2      2      2      5      3
DK/NA                 5      4      4      4      3      4      4      3      4
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
Sanders              64%    52%    50%    49%    39%    56%    48%    86%    62%
Trump                28     37     44     43     54     38     46      6     29
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      2      1      1      2      -      1      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      4      2      3      2      2      2      3      7
DK/NA                 4      4      4      3      3      3      3      4      2

                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
Warren               60%    50%    51%    50%    37%    54%    46%    85%    65%
Trump                32     40     45     43     54     41     48      6     27
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      1      -      2      1      1      2      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      3      1      3      3      1      2      5      2
DK/NA                 4      5      2      3      3      3      3      1      6

Do you see it?

Biden has a twelve-point margin among seniors. Sanders and Warren have about half that. The other differences aren’t nearly as meaningful. Admittedly this is that Quinnipiac poll that was branded as an outlier, though given later polls it doesn’t seem much of one, and what’s important is the overall pattern at any rate which mirrors other polls (polls which don’t give you the good stuff in terms of crosstabs). And it makes intuitive sense. The same poll has a trial heat of the Democratic contenders and Biden barely gets to single-digits among 18-34 year old voters, but cleans up among seniors. I guess having a campaign that is about 95% “goddamn it, but things were better in my day” makes you irresistible to old people! (And makes young people indifferent toward you.) It’s almost as though campaigns are about emotion and storytelling rather than the substance of policy proposals. And while these numbers would lend themselves to an argument that the unique fusion of candidate and message here puts a Repub-leaning group even more in play and creates real landslide potential, just always keep in mind that a Biden presidency would be politically disastrous. Hillary Clinton was mocked for levels of youth support much higher than Biden has, and it’s not exactly unfair to call Biden the factional candidate of old Democrats. Oh, he’ll win young people if he’s the alternative to Trump in the election, but does he have the understanding of Millennials and Gen Z to motivate them as president? All signs point to no! Also, expecting Biden to replicate Obamian political themes without getting the resulting Obamian political apathy is…unlikely, particularly since Obama had incredible charisma and oratory and Biden, well, doesn’t.

Also, this is interesting:

                     PARTYID.....  AGE IN YRS..............    INCOME.............
                     Dem    DemLn  18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    <50k   50-100 100k+
Biden                33%    28%    10%    34%    37%    48%    34%    28%    33%
Sanders              13     21     31     13     12      4     20     16      9
O'Rourke              1      2      1      2      3      -      1      3      1
Harris                8      3      6      7     10      3      3      8     12
Warren               19     19     25     19     15     20     16     23     23

There’s this side debate about whether Warren is just some bougie ripoff of Bernie’s AUTHENTIC WORKING-CLASS REVOLUTION but she gets almost the same support from poor people that Bernie does. She just also gets more support from other income brackets also. One could almost theorize that Warren is just a better politician who can craft appeals to a wider swath of voters while offering an almost indistinguishable platform. But she’s not a man and she doesn’t inaccurately call herself a socialist, which is probably what this is all about.

Lev filed this under: ,  

The logic of impeachment is pretty inescapable: Democrats came in saying, hey, let’s do some oversight. The White House said no, we will not cooperate with any oversight at all. So the only real responses to this are these: impeachment or nothing. In other words, they either say to Trump that you’re violating the constitution by not allowing us to do oversight and therefore for this and many other reasons you ought to be removed from office, or they just shrug and become the equivalent of the Roman Senate during the imperial era: they show up and vote on things, but they have no power and don’t much care to have any. That’s pretty much the choice. Sure, you can fudge it a bit, file some lawsuits that a Trumpian SCOTUS will never allow to succeed even if they’re correct on the merits, throw around some SCORCHING RHETORIC, eat up some time and hope that Trump has a coronary and they’re freed from having to act, promise EXTREME VETTING that is impossible because of the aforementioned stonewalling, etc., but the steady movement of House Democrats toward impeachment isn’t just to thrill the base, it’s because there really isn’t any other option other than irrelevance. And it’s not like there’s any other way that the House Dems can make themselves relevant: Nancy Pelosi’s supergenius move to ensure that there wouldn’t be a shutdown during an election year (gee, who would take the blame for that?) leaves Democrats with no levers to pull in trying to rein in Trump, if they even wanted to. The “arranging deck chairs on the Titanic” is a highly overused metaphor, but at least arranging them has an aesthetic function, if a pointless one in a crisis. Those Democrats that don’t want Trump to distract them from their legislative agenda that won’t become law, which is more like trying to come up with the perfect deck chair arrangement as the Titanic sinks. These people are nuts, and unfortunately, the speaker is among them.

I seem to recall about nine months ago that people were arguing that dumping Pelosi was madness because she was a master legislator and she is that, but I’ll say it again: we didn’t need a master legislator to manage gridlock, and we still don’t. What we need is someone who can manage the conflict with Trump and take it where it needs to go. We don’t have that.

Lev filed this under: ,  

Q: It’s April of 2021 and you’ve just found your groove as president. Your attorney general meets with you about the prospect of bringing charges against former President Trump and he says that, while the evidence is more than sufficient to do so, in his estimation it would be hard to get a conviction because the jury will surely include some staunch Trump supporters, regardless of the jurisdiction. Do you tell him to do it anyway or to hold off on doing it, and why?