Tag Archives: 2020

The media’s fascination with Trump voters

“But the press isn’t hyper-solicitous of the views of black voters,” Jamelle Bouie writes, proving what a tonic he is in a New York Times editorial page that publishes The Venerable Brooks and Bret Stephens. “Cable news doesn’t constantly turn to swing-state focus groups of black Democrats to gauge their opposition to the president. And Democrats in Congress aren’t worried about demobilizing a group that may determine the next election. Just the opposite.” Continue reading

Democratic debate #2 – Miami

11:06 p.m. Not a single question about today’s monumental Supreme Court decisions.

11:05 p.m. Harris, a better prosecutor than candidate. In June 2019, seven months before Iowa, maybe that’s what matters. Good night.

10:57 p.m. Buttigieg shouldn’t make such a big deal about his service. No doubt it was harrowing. But he ain’t wooing swing voters.

10:56 p.m. Is Harris the favorite of former Clinton people? She gives the tough centrist answers that Clinton was okay but not great at delivering.

10:49 p.m. “When I’m not changing diapers I’m changing Washington.” Swalwell’s line is the kind of execrable laugh line that his team batted around for days.

10:44 p.m. Biden should not boast about his Iraq War votes.

10:39 p.m. No debate should be more than an hour, and everyone on stage — everyone — is flailing about guns. Goddamn Biden said the NRA wasn’t the problem: the “gun manufacturers” were. But the gun manufactures and NRA work together. #smartguns

10:32 p.m. The biggest refutation of Biden’s racism: his constant referral to the Obama administration’s accomplishments. What he doesn’t realize: he’s taking credit for them at Obama’s expense while defending comity with Southern neo-Confederates in the seventies.

10:25 p.m. Williamson, claiming a career “harnessing” the dreams of people, cites JFK as an example of a politician exciting people. She isn’t interesting in elections, to her credit — she wants to sell books.

10:23 p.m. Harris’ embrace of the Intelligence Community is the worst answer of the night, just behind Hickenlooper’s lamentations against #socialism!

10:19 p.m. Bizarre. Every time Harris follows her script and attacks, she’s marvelous; when she follows her scripted applause lines, they clang. But they’re going down well. And what the hell do Korea, The Word of the Intelligence Community have to do with the Climate Crisis?

10:15 p.m. Wait what? Sanders doesn’t believe in court packing but DOES believe in “rotating” judges? What?

10:10 p.m. Outside Senate committees I haven’t seen Harris’ so-called prosecutorial skills until tonight.

10:05 p.m. Harris identifies herself as a victim of busing; Biden claims he “ran on civil rights.” I can’t make sense of his answer. Harris presses: “Do you agree that you were wrong to oppose busing?” Spooked, Biden has to cut himself off, citing time.

10:02 p.m. However, Swalwell, a congressman, got away with schooling Buttigieg and the latter blinked.

10 p.m. I’m not sure any white man can answer this question about the Wall of Mistrust at South Bend without causing offense.

9:55 p.m. Watch out, America: Chuck Todd is coming along to relieve Diaz-Balart, Savanna Guthrie, and Lester Holt of the responsibility of being sober, terse interlocutors.

9:53 p.m. THE CHINA CHALLENGE. “The perfection of dictatorship” — Buttigieg is coming up with wonderful Foreign Affairs articles.

9:49 p.m. The only candidates worth paying attention to this evening are Harris, Sanders, and Buttigieg.

9:46 p.m. Oooh. Biden flops around addressing Jose Diaz-Balart’s question about the Obama administration’s deportation policy (“Should a person without documents be deported?”).

9:43 p.m. Buttigieg has his best moment denouncing the hypocrisy of Bible thumpers on the right.

9:37 p.m. On Jan. 21, 2021, Harris promises to close detention centers, offer citizenship to DACA recipients, and would throttle GOP opposition. At least she creates this impression. Harris has been fiercer than I expected even when I don’t know what motivates her fierceness.

9:34 p.m. I’m….not sure what Biden said about health insurance other than agreeing with Buttigieg.

9:31 p.m. Well — I’m impressed. Every candidate says they’d offer health insurance to undocumented immigrants.

9:28 p.m. Marianne Williamson, author, understands the strength of the rhetorical flourish. That’s why she’s here. Can I trade places?

9:26 p.m. “We will have Medicare when tens of millions of people when they tell the insurance companies and drug companies” that “health care is a human right.” I hope so.

9:24 p.m. “The fact of the matter is” — Biden loves the phrase like a priest does his rosary.

9:22 p.m. “Relying on the tender mercies” of the health care system — Buttigieg offers the first lovely phrase of the evening. But his answer is technocratic gibberish.

9:21 p.m. Only Harris, Sanders, and Gillibrand raise their hands about abolishing their private health care.

9:19 p.m. Harris, caught in a crossfire, remarks, “Hey, guys, the American people don’t wanna see a food fight, they wanna see food on the table.” APPLAUSE.

9:18 p.m. It’s a maladroit rhetorical trick to segue from speechifying to policy data.

9:16 p.m. Well. Swalwell twists the fork into Biden by sticking the Pass the Torch line he heard thirty years ago into his back.

9:14 p.m. Rep. Eric Swalwell looks like the actor cast as Hugh Sloan in All the President’s Men: a conservative desperate to resist the hippie tide changing fashion. I like him on MSNBC though.

9:13 p.m. Pete Buttigieg pivots from not paying for college to raising the minimum wage.


9:09. Kirsten Gillibrand tries to distinguish between capitalism and the people who depend on rapine. She did it by injecting herself. I would too as a political stunt.

9:07 p.m. “The bottom line” is a dreadful capitalism-drenched statement. That’s John Hickenlooper’s platform. He worries about Donald Trump’s calling the Dems socialists. He’ll call YOU a socialist, buddy.

9:06 p.m. Senator Kamala Harris wonders why the GOP wasn’t asked about paying for their goddamn tax cuts. She didn’t say “goddamn.” Her expression and vehemence imply it.

9:05 p.m. “A job is about dignity and respect,” Joe Biden says Papa Biden said. To return dignity to the middle class, insurance must be affordable. He goes into a tangent about pure air and dirty water (Flint?). First gauntlet thrown against Biden.

9:03 p.m. “It is time for change. Real change.” Health care is a human right, Bernie Sanders declares in his usual stentorian manner. No one claps — a pity. Maybe they’re waiting for him to finish. He also mentions free tuition and eliminating student debt. Now this gets a response.

9:01 p.m. I’m proud that Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts could afford this fluorescent blue recreation of the White House even with the DNC’s help.

8:57 p.m. A refugee from the Bush II administration, Nicole Wallace admits to reading self-help Yoda, the honorable Marianne Williamson, whose books I remember selling during my three-year stint as a bookstore clerk.

8:55 p.m. Brian Williams picks on Andrew Yang’s refusal to wear a tie — for the second time. That’s the trend, you serial fictionalist. And it’s Miami.

8:53 p.m. Chris Matthews says — twice, in case you missed it — that Joe Biden must “knock out” the “socialist.”

Democratic debate #1 – Miami

10:57: Beto consulted notes for his final statement.

10:55 p.m. Klobuchar: “I listen to people except when they don’t wash my combs.”

10:54 p.m. Remember, readers: Tim Ryan challenged Nancy Pelosi for speaker.

10:47 p.m. I’m reading snipes from haircuts like Noah Rothman about Elizabeth Warren disappointing expectations, but she had more to lose; to participate in ridiculous spats about who did what in Afghanistan would tarnish her. Let the small fry who will disappear after tonight have their fundraising moment.

10:45 p.m. Why do network people moderate debates? Hot dog vendors could ask sassier questions.

10:44 p.m. Trumbull’s painting of Washington?

10:40 p.m. Are we really arguing about 9-11 and who’s tougher and whether Tim Ryan understands data? Let me repeat: Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard argued about who was responsible for 9-11.

10:35 p.m. De Blasio gives a decent answer on the failure of Democratic and GOP presidents’ failure to observe the War Powers Act, which may itself be unconstitutional at worst and redundant at best, for Congress approves military actioni (yeah, yeah).

10:33 p.m. Autobiographical anecdotes. Conversations with Lil Nel. I don’t care who does it. This approach to answering questions is limp as hell.

10:29 p.m. Gabbard: “My record in Congress going back six years….”

10:28 p.m. What the hell is Tim Ryan babbling about The Working Class? If The Working Class doesn’t accept climate change, expanding health care options, LGBT rights, and access to abortions, they’re not worth wooing.

10:26 p.m. I can’t stress how badly Florida will pay for congressional perfidy on the effect of climate change.

10:24 p.m. O’Rourke and the rest have degenerated into Bringing Everyone to the Table.

10:17 p.m. Pathetic. Going into “red states” will NOT break Mitch McConnell.

10:15 p.m. I know Rachel Maddow’s intention: she wants candidates on the record about packing the court. Booker blew it.

10:11 p.m. Tim Ryan’s answer about social services failing high school students, but how will you keep the students for whom social services didn’t work from getting guns?

10:08 p.m. Classic Bill Kristol move here from Sparklepants.

10:02 p.m. Microphone circuits malfunction suddenly when Chuck Todd approaches them.

10 p.m. WATCH OUT AMERICA! Chuck Todd of Kendall is here to explain what the most predictable centrist position should look like.

9:57 p.m. Commercial break. Quick wrap-up: Castro stronger than expected; Beto as flaccid as expected; Gabbard more hawkish than expected; Ryan, de Blasio, Booker as chicken shit as expected. I have no read on Inslee, Klobuchar, and Delaney.

9:53 p.m. Gabbard scorns this “chicken hawk” Cabinet. I know what she means but. Also: EEE-Ran? Also, she enlisted in the Iraq War? Did I hear correctly?

9:49 p.m. It’s difficult to know whether the moderators believe their own outrage about 70 percent rates, open borders, and abortion for everyone; because it’s NBC and MSNBC, I say their producers sound a lot like Nicole Wallace, Charlie Sykes, and “Morning” Joe.

9:45 p.m. I would enforce a strong border that keeps out invaders like “invest,” “incentivize,” and “opportunity.”

9:43 p.m. Now Castro and de Blasio have turned the debate into a Texan civil war. Good. It needs to happen.

9:41 p.m. I speak Spanish and wish everyone did, but, my god, Jose Diaz-Balart, stop forcing Beto and Booker to speak Spanish.

9:40 p.m. “The 1 percent did that to you,” de Blasio explains to the crowd, and he’s right, but he’s the Overlord of NYC, fiefdom of the 1 Percent.

9:38 p.m. Cory Booker speaks Spanish like I dribble hot sauce.

9:37 p.m. Castro: “We need a Marshall Plan for Mexico and Honduras.” Good luck with that; a Christian thought, and it shows somebody’s thinking of Latin America instead of invading or condescending to them.

9:35 p.m. To watch Diaz-Balart perform outrage and disgust over the death of Oscar and Valeria is weird considering his family.

9:31 p.m. When you watch Eurythmics’ video for “Missionary Man,” the lab-created specimen overseen by Dave Stewart is Cory Booker.

9:30 p.m. Good on Julian Castro for mentioning trans women for the first time.

9:29 p.m. Klobuchar scores a perfect hit at the expense of Washington governor Jay Inslee about who has the right to discuss reproductive rights.

9:23 p.m. De Blasio, about to be sawed off the plank of this galleon, gets offended by Beto’s neolib answer. Offended by Beto. Think about it.

9:21 p.m. Beto, fresh after a quiet leisurely afternoon nap, mentions a Texan with diabetes and glaucoma as if he were just introduced to a Texan, diabetes, and glaucoma.

9:19 p.m. Only two candidates raise their hands when debate host Lester Holt asks who would surrender their private health care for government care. A loaded question — most of these people are on the government payroll.

9:18 p.m. I’m a partisan. Elizabeth Warren has earned my support. Even now, under the glare of these lights, she speaks in crisp declarative sentences.

9:15 p.m. Hi, John Delaney!

9:14 p.m. How progressive and interested in The Working People has Bill de Blasio been?

9:12 p.m. “I will take your hard-earned tax dollars and put them to serve your needs,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii says. This marks the first time I’ve typed her name in this blog. She emphasizes her military service. I may have missed this on Twitter, but her most fervent fans don’t care about the military.

9:11 p.m. Getting the loudest applause line of the night, Julian Castro wonders why we haven’t passed the Equal Rights Amendment.

9:08 p.m. “What’s missing is courage — courage to take on the giants,” Elizabeth Warren says. “I have the courage to go after [the monopolists].”

9:07 p.m. Uh, Cory Booker is not the person to whom I’d turn for corporate consolidation.

9:06 p.m. “This economy has got to work for everyone,” former Rep. Beto O’Rourke says, then says it in broken Spanish. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker give him a WTF scowl.

9:04 p.m. Senator Amy Klobuchar posits the idea of free community college, which would excite Miamians, for, after all, Miami-Dade College has the largest undergrad enrollment of any community college.

9:03 p.m. I should point out that in Miami we still say “Hispanic,” not “Latinx.”

9:02 p.m. José Díaz-Balart, Telemundo anchor, is a local hero. He’s the late Fidel Castro’s nephew yet thrives.

9 p.m. I’m not sure how many people realize how goddamn hot it is.

8:57 p.m. Brian Williams, fired for being a third-rate fiction writer instead of an anchor, says “podia” instead of “podium.” The crew loves them.

8:56 p.m. The defeated Claire McCaskill, who thought we should court conservatives, explains how things should go on stage. She tells us that the candidates write their zingers down. I feel better.

8:53 p.m. Hi! We’re here. I’ve had churrasco and a glass of wine. The candidates have emerged to congratulate me. Well, no — to take a group photo on stage.

The sissiness of the Democratic Party

“The future of the Democratic Party, and by extension the country, may well depend on whether the party is finally willing to ditch its fretful posture of peacemaking and give war a chance,” Alex Pareene writes in “Why Are Democrats Such Cowards?” for The New Republic. From that paragraph: Continue reading

Annals of corruption, #4561

In a story about the GOP’s political chances in 2020, please note the sophistication of the nation’s Paper of Record:

But both parties have overwhelming incentives to push next year’s election toward issues of the heart, not the head.

For Republicans, the arrival in Washington of liberal women of color such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with some top Democratic presidential candidates running toward the left, has created irresistible political temptations. With new bogeywomen to caricature, and explosive liberal issues like reparations for the descendants of enslaved blacks, voting rights for prisoners and federal benefits for undocumented immigrants, G.O.P. officials have even more fodder for the sort of scorched-earth, and unabashedly racist, campaign that Mr. Trump ran in 2016.

These new targets offer fresh material with which Republicans can galvanize their base and try to make the case to moderate voters that, while they may be uneasy with the Trump-era G.O.P., the alternative is left-wing radicalism.

Two men, according to the byline, crafted the tough prose of the one-sentence graf quoted above. In the second graf, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns can barely contain their enthusiasm.

We’re all going to die.