The Open Thread for August 7, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence declared his loyalty to President Trump and denounced a New York Times article suggesting that he was positioning himself to run for president in 2020 if Mr. Trump does not seek a second term, the New York Times reports.

Said Pence: “Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.”

He added: “Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the president’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”


David Wasserman: “Even if Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by less than 3 percentage points — a pretty good midterm by historical standards — they could still fall short of the House majority and lose five Senate seats.”

“This is partly attributable to the nature of House districts: GOP gerrymandering and Democratic voters’ clustering in urban districts has moved the median House seat well to the right of the nation. Part of it is bad timing. Democrats have been cursed by a terrible Senate map in 2018… But there’s a larger, long-term trend at work too — one that should alarm Democrats preoccupied with the future of Congress and the Supreme Court.”

“In the last few decades, Democrats have expanded their advantages in California and New York — states with huge urban centers that combined to give Clinton a 6 million vote edge, more than twice her national margin. But those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans have made huge advances in small rural states — think Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and West Virginia — that wield disproportionate power in the upper chamber compared to their populations.”

“There has always been a section of the left, which I call the whiny party — the party that doesn’t really wanna win, they just wanna be pure, and if they go down swinging purely, then that’s fine.” — Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, quoted by The Hill.

I agree completely.  Those purists are worse than Republicans.

GOP SETS ANOTHER UNLIKELY TIMELINE FOR TAX “REFORM” Politico: “Republicans acknowledge that the aggressive timeline they have set up for overhauling the tax code this fall leaves them little room for error. There could be one problem with that: Obamacare isn’t going away.”

“That’s left key Senate tax writers frustrated that there’s potentially another issue to take precious time away from their tax reform efforts. Senators left Washington on Thursday for a monthlong recess and will return to a September already overloaded with legislative deadlines. With key Trump administration officials and some congressional leaders having said they want to get a tax revamp signed into law this year, tax writers believe they’ll need to make serious progress starting next month.”

GOP IS LOSING THE EXURBS.  Wall Street Journal: “Data from Gallup show 45.5% of adults in exurban communities self-identified as Republican in the second quarter of 2017, down from 49.6% in the first quarter of 2017 and 51.6% in the fourth quarter of 2016. It was also the lowest quarterly number for self-identified Republicans in the exurbs since 2013, the earliest numbers available.”

“The data also showed an increase in self-identified Democrats in exurban counties to 40.5% from 37.3% in the first quarter of 2017 and 36.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016. The 40.5% was the highest number recorded from Democrats since 2013.”

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN OVER THE WALL.  Jonathan Swan: “Some say there’s a good chance of a government shutdown before the end of the year because of deep rifts over spending priorities. No one sees Trump’s wall getting much more than a symbolic nod, which is sure to anger Trump and the Bannon faction, and could lead to a shutdown.”

“Tax reform in this calendar year seems increasingly unlikely. A bill and big debate? Yes. Something signed into law? Very hard given the points above and persistently deep disagreements over which loopholes to keep and how to pay for the tax cuts.”

TAX “REFORM” IS IMPERILED BY HEALTHCARE FOCUS. “Congressional Republicans plan to use the next four weeks away from Washington making a public case for a sweeping rewrite of the tax code, an ambitious legislative undertaking they hope will heal divisions that opened when the party’s signature health-care bill collapsed,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“But at home in their districts, they face pressures that could make it hard to focus on taxes. Many of their constituents and party activists blame Congress, more than President Donald Trump, for the health-care stalemate and are pressing them to find a resolution. And before they can do anything, lawmakers face a load of time-sensitive fiscal business: hashing out a budget, funding the government and raising the federal debt limit. The result is a party sent home for a month-long recess to face mixed messages from voters and an uncertain path forward in the fall.”

NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS PASSED 15-0 BY UNSC.  China seems to have decided it will throw its weight behind to the global campaign to increase pressure on North Korea as it warned that the reclusive state should not do anything to provoke the international community at a time when tensions are entering “a very critical phase.” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the new U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea on Saturday were the right steps to take and expressed optimism that North Korea’s leaders would make “the right and smart decision” about how to proceed. But even as China seemed to be heeding to the U.S. calls to isolate North Korea, Wang also had a message for Washington: “We would like to urge other parties like the United States and South Korea to stop increasing tensions.”

KELLY TRYING TO TAME THE TWEETATOR? Bloomberg: “Kelly is testing his authority to tame Trump’s sometimes reckless tweeting habits. While Kelly isn’t vetting every presidential tweet, Trump has shown a willingness to consult with his chief of staff before hitting ‘send’ on certain missives that might cause an international uproar or lead to unwelcome distractions, according to three people familiar with the interactions. Kelly has been ‘offering a different way to say the same thing,’ the person said.”

“Trump has made it clear, however, that he reserves the right to ignore advice on tweets.”

A BIPARTISAN HEALTHCARE PUSH? “A week after an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’d consider a bipartisan effort to continue payments to insurers to avert a costly rattling of health insurance markets,” the AP reports.

McConnell also there is “still a chance” the Senate could revive the measure to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” but he acknowledged the window for that is rapidly closing.

OBAMA LOYALISTS OPERATING SHADOW SCIENCE OFFICE. “The network, described to STAT by officials from the previous administration who are involved, is informal yet organized, allowing for a far-reaching if largely inconspicuous effort to continue advocating for the Obama science agenda.”

“Participants have provided counsel to Democratic lawmakers and their staffs on Capitol Hill, and they have held group-wide strategy sessions much in the same fashion as they did when they worked out of a fourth-floor wing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent the White House.”




Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

61 comments on “The Open Thread for August 7, 2017

  1. cassandram

    The NY Daily News provides additional context for Flake’s new found “conscience”:

    “Flake’s much-publicized opposition to Trump hasn’t extended far into his congressional actions. He voted last month to confirm a federal judgeship for John Bush, a Trump nominee who spread “birther” theories on a blog years ago. Flake also voted to confirm every one of Trump’s cabinet nominees, and voted for the “nuclear option” to scrap a Senate majority to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.”

    When do you think the TV media that is gobbling this stuff up with start asking Flake about his two-facedness here?

  2. “When do you think the TV media that is gobbling this stuff up with start asking Flake about his two-facedness here?”

    Ooh! I know the answer! Never! They will never ask that question. They will, however, continue on with their “both sides do it” nonsense.

  3. Flake is peddling a book. This is all book roll-out stuff.

  4. mikem2784

    And about saving his seat in a state that is more and more purple in a year when the R brand is damaged enough to make a difference.

  5. @mike: That ain’t gonna work. His current approval rating in Arizona is 18%.

  6. delacrat

    I agree completely. Those purists are worse than Republicans.” – delaware dem

    Oh…. It’s the “purist” Democrats like Obomba, Clinton and Wasserman-Schultz under whose leadership their party lost the White House, House, Senate, Supreme Court, half the Governors, and over 1,000 state seats.

    • please, keep naming people who no longer have any say in the party.

  7. anonymous redux

    so who do you see as a player in the Democratic Party who would have a chance to actually win in 2020? not somebody who can only make the base feel good.

    • there arent any.
      On one side, You have Bernie, Warren, and Eliison… all of whom are liked by the progressive wing, but loathed by the establishment.
      On the other, it is Booker, Harris and… (wtf) Biden. Loyal Democrats who have some serious baggage as far as ties to your various corrupted complexes. I think they will try with Harris and exploit her double minority status to attack anyone who raises questions about her. Dont like that she was a prosecutor who was a complicit player in our disastrous criminal justice system? you’re a sexist.
      It will be 2016 all over again.

  8. Hi all,

    I want to thank everyone that came out to the last meet & greet for Laura Sturgeon’s state senate campaign. If you couldn’t make it, there’s another one coming up Thursday evening:

    This is a really great opportunity for Dems to pick up an important seat in 2018, and we’d love your help and input!


  9. anonymous redux

    thanks, ben. kind of depressing, but honest. I wonder if Bernie etc. could ever appeal to a general electorate if they can’t even get the approval of democratic moderates. I think booker etc. could beat the republicans despite the acknowledged baggage, which is nowhere near as heavy as Hillary’s. but they win (or get nominated) only if the left wing of the party supports them, which might be doubtful (I note your comment about harris; I share your sentiments there but would be willing to put up with that stuff to beat the republicans). we better figure it out in a hurry.

  10. If the only baggage Harris has is related to criminal justice, I’m pretty sure she could win my vote. Particularly over Booker, a big charter school/privatization booster with a generally neoliberal economic worldview.

    Then again, the only things we really know about Harris right now come from her tenure as attorney general. There were no tax policy decisions to make there, definitely no foreign policy decisions. Nothing about education either. There’s still three years for her define herself on those fronts, and I hope she does stake out firm positions.

  11. I want to like Harris. I will, of course, do my patriotic duty when the time comes. The problem is, the people who thought Tim Kaine was a winning VP choice seem to like her, which makes me deeply skeptical.

    • Harris isn’t perfect (Newsflash: No candidate is) but the group misrepresenting her positions needs to stop. They are either lying or stupid.

      “If she wants to advance her political career, she will have to come out authentically and honestly in support of universal healthcare, free college, a federal $15 hour minimum wage, criminal justice reform and the expansion of social security programs,” Wong said. “Anything less than this means the party will continue to bleed voters.”

      Harris has already come out supporting all five of those policies in one form or another. Whether or not that will be enough for her critics remains to be seen.”

  12. I would hope that we stop preemptively destroying our potential candidates. If the bar is zero baggage (wrong vote, donations, etc.) then no one makes the cut. No one.

    • Im not asking for 0 baggage. I want the baggage acknowledged and addressed. If it can be explained, great. But if the reaction to mentions of said baggage is a defensive charge of _____ ism, we have a problem. There will be plenty of ACTUAL _____ism coming from the real enemy.

      • I know you’re not, Ben, but a lot of people are – at least about certain candidates. And the optics don’t look good. I remember a time (less than a year ago) when Kamala Harris was put forth by the “left” as the candidate we should have run instead of Clinton. I remember the “Pelosi has to go!” crowd not knowing that the guy they were cheering to replace her was a flippin’ blue dog, and I remember what happened when Elizabeth Warren endorsed Hillary after the primary.

        I don’t have a preferred candidate for 2020. I’m open to learning about everyone. What I’d like is for people to stop trying to destroy potential candidates before they’re even on the field. Sheesh, if Dems have really moved further left (and I think they have) then a progressive candidate should win the primary easily. If that doesn’t happen then I’ve (and others) have misread the signals.

    • It’s just like the airlines — those with baggage must pay the baggage fee.

      Also, you don’t get to tell others what their priorities should be. What I consider vetting you apparently call “preemptive destruction.” That’s your problem, not mine. As is the fact that the candidates you want us to support without reservation have to be able to stand up to criticism. If they can’t, that’s not the fault of the critics.

      • I haven’t told anyone what their priorities should be. And it’s funny how vetting a candidate is all the rage now when it wasn’t a big deal in 2016. If you recall, I was the one calling for a vetting. Nice of you to finally join me. 🙂

        And then there’s this nonsense: “As is the fact that the candidates you want us to support without reservation have to be able to stand up to criticism. If they can’t, that’s not the fault of the critics.” Do you ever get tired of making up things I’ve said? I have no preferred candidate. All I’ve asked for is for certain people to stop lying about candidates’ positions.

        • Whoa there. Just because you don’t have a name doesn’t negate what I said (note the plural “candidates.”) You want unity, no matter who the candidate is. I’m pointing out that your priority is not the same as everyone else’s. Some people want purity, others want unity.

          You are preemptively blaming a lack of unity for any failure on the party’s part. Yet the Republicans are just as fractured, if not more so, than the Democrats.

          • Actually it does negate what you say. You have assigned me candidates and motive.

            • I’m saying that you want unity behind any candidate selected. Do you deny that? Are you just being obtuse on purpose?

              • There’s a step you’re missing there. The primary process. I would hope that after a candidate won that we could all see the bigger picture. That’s not solely unity. That’s winning.

        • which certain people and which lies? Surely we agree that slandering a candidate is bad. To name 2 “front runners”, Harris and Booker have some pretty serious donor questions at least. If bad calls were made, own up to it. They can both become something that Dump isnt very easily by acknowledging a mistake and showing they will take steps to correct it.
          For example, maybe the legal tools to go after Mnuchin weren’t available ( I really dont know), but President Harris would push for tougher laws against big banks and actual penalties for the people who run afoul of those laws. … if that message were backed up from real action by Congressional dems (look at you, coons and carper) You would have an easier time swaying the left wing of the party.

          • Click on the link in my comment. Then click on the many links in the article.

            • Was it the article mentioning DeMoro? Perhaps is my reading comprehension 😉 but I see concerns, not lies. That line about ‘where progressives live’ garnered that instant defense charge or racism that I mentioned before being a pathetic shot to take.
              What I am NOT seeing is the same kind of insane crap that was leveled at Clinton (vince foster, Haiti, etc). Nothing seems disqualifying, but should be addressed.
              As far as her voiced support of progressive policies… that means almost nothing to me. I want legislative proof that any candidate not only opposed everything Dump, but wont “seek the center” after they are elected on empty promises.

              • If you want proof on Harris, it’s out there. Lots of it. I’m running errands and I’ll post more links later.

                • i’ll appreciate it, but TBH, I dont really need to be convinced.
                  If the Dems really screw up and push Steny Hoyer or something for the nomination, of course i’ll vote for the anti-Dump. We must have solid, vetted arguments against the crazy crap that is coming and have to assume the people spouting them wont follow links.

  13. Oops, hit send too soon. The other point is that people aren’t “lying” about theses candidates. They’re raising concerns based on facts. It’s not a lie to point out that Kamala Harris took a donation from Steve Mnuchin and failed to prosecute his bank; she still hasn’t explained why. Why do you claim people are “lying” about these candidates? I have not found that charge anywhere else.

    • Click on the link in my comment. Or read the paragraph I’ve highlighted.

      And I’m fine with her explaining the Mnuchin donation. She needs to. I’m also fine with pointing out that she supports a $15 minimum wage, free college, justice reform, etc.. Yet we have people on the left claiming she doesn’t support these things. And… “But as Dayen himself noted in his book Chain of Title, Harris does have a record of standing up for homeowners during her time as California attorney general. Specifically, Harris used her attorney general tenure to push back against the Obama administration during negotiations on a major settlement for homeowners and held out for a better deal.”

      Vetting is fine. Lying is not.

  14. What’s the lie? The fact that she stood up against other bankers is more damning, not less — why let off the hook the only one who donated to her?

    You’re just going to have to put on your big girl pants and realize that you’re not going to get your unity.

    • No unity = President Trump

      Amazing how some people are okay with that.

    • One other thing… Let’s say a candidate the left supports wins the primary, do you have a plan for unity? You know I’ll vote for the Dem, but how do you win the minority groups’ vote – groups that aren’t happy with the left.

      • That last point is something i really want to understand. Which part of “the left” are these groups against?
        The Redditers and 4chan internet trolls who have no real political ideology anyway?
        It is indisputable (in this country anyway) that the “left wing’ of politics has always pushed for equality, the right has always opposed it, and the moderates have always “sought compromise,” and slowed down progress.
        What has… lets use this admittedly tired example… Sanders done (other than not enough) to make his dedication to civil/sexual/women’s rights come under suspicion?
        Imo, it is consensus seekers like Chris Coons who do the real damage by wanting bi-partisanship when one of those partisans is only out to destroy.
        So please. Im asking from a place of genuine … i guess panic, really (if there is no unity, trump wins and if he gets a second term, that’s it… fuck, we might not make it to the end of the week… and I’m not even half joking) ANYWAY…. as someone proudly and firmly on the “left” who would DIE for social equality (i am no where near the only one), why dont “you” trust “us”, and why do “you” instead trust a group that rides the breaks when it comes to equality?

        • It comes under suspicion when some on the left blame social issues the way Republicans blame identity politics. It comes under suspicion when the focus is to woo the WWC while blaming minorities for not voting in large enough numbers – blame them both, or woo them both, but this finger pointing at one group while claiming we need to understand and be sympathetic to the other is BS. It comes under suspicion when some on the left only seem to target women/black/brown people as not being progressive enough national candidates to run for office. Those optics are particularly bad right now.

          Its tossing around the word “revolution” by people who don’t live on the margins, and not understanding why that term frightens these groups of people; people who are hanging on by a thread.

          No matter who wins the primary, they will have a lot of work to do. I’d suggest both sides start now.

          • I seem to remeber a black man being pegged as too far left to win nationally by old white moderates. Who other than Sen Harris has been questioned? Questions, id point out, some of whicj you have aknowledged are legitamate.
            I do see your other points, but i don’t think those voices are close to a majority. They are loud, yes… But constantly batted down by the rest of us.

            • Besides Kamala Harris, there’s Cory Booker, Kristen Gillibrand, Deval Patrick, Nancy Pelosi and, yes, Barack Obama.

              Now, I’m not saying that these candidates are perfect, but the optics going on right now aren’t good. And, Ben, those voices are really loud and really white. That’s not good.

              • Isnt it better that this discussion happens now and not in 3 years?

                Of those people, only Sen Booker (and I guess, Sen Harris) is a serious candidate to be a candidate. Leader Pelosi is not at all a new presence, and the criticism of her (not just her, but the entire Dem) leadership is now 7 years old…. leadership, I might add that is mostly old white men. President Obama is retired.
                For all your problems that you point out on the left, I would say (not applying to you, per se) the center wont answer the questions.
                It’s “why are you attacking a black man” .. “I’m” not. “I’m” asking about donations from a traitorous family and horrible decisions regarding Newark’s public schools and what that might look like on a national level. That is at LEAST as serious as Sanders seeming dismissive of women’s rights. (because he only seemed to be and his votes in way reflected that charge).. Also, I only bring up Sanders because he is still, for some reason, the standard bearer for the progressive wing. He shouldn’t be. We need someone with National appeal and many in the Dem party are too anti-semitic to actually vote for him.
                I can, however, for demonstration purposes, play the same game. Why is Sen Warren cast off by the center? Don’t they think a woman can win nationally? See how disingenuous that sounds?
                Let’s have a real discussion about the current front runners, where we can all assume from the get-go that we want any of them to beat Trump. Why is that so hard? I, you, everyone… knows that morons will chime in with their aggrieved mangenda. ignore them. All they want is a reaction.

                • Sen. Warren came under attack for endorsing Hillary. She also faced attacks when she ran for senate. Go look up who has attacked Warren. I think you might be surprised.

                  And I’m merely pointing out that “unity” is a two way street that our candidate (whoever that may be) will have to address.

          • delacrat

            “… blaming minorities for not voting in large enough numbers…” – pandora

            It evidently will never occur to you that “minorities” did not vote in large enough numbers because the Democratic party is not doing anything for minorities.

  15. “No matter who wins the primary, they will have a lot of work to do. I’d suggest both sides start now.”

    By doing what? You’re asking people to paper over real differences. That never works.

    • not “real” differences…. just made up grievances that are product of racist misogyny. Didnt “some people’s” actions last year teach anyone that you cant insult your way to unity?

      • I disagree. The differences are very real, and I’m not insulting anyone. I’m attacking the notion that unity is achieved by ordering everyone to unify. Both sides here feel disrespected. That’s real.

        • yeah, it was a poor attempt at sarcasm. we dont disagree here.

        • The differences could be solved by expanding the agenda, not shrinking it. It will take both sides to win.

          • The only people suggesting shrinking it… with any actual ability to do so, are in the leadership. It is the center that poo-poos the idea of socialized health care and really going after the banks. only loons and 90’s era Bill Clinton strategists want to allow right wing ideologies in.

            • Leadership does it by trying to appeal to voters who don’t vote for us, which makes them idiots. The left is dabbling in this as well – which is fine, to an extent, but I’d be happier if both sides courted our base voters with the enthusiasm they are currently courting the WWC. Sheesh, can’t we do both?

              • to borrow a phrase, Yes we can. Everyone has to feel prioritized. This would honestly be easier without national media and social media coverage on everything. That way, a candidate could make a room full of WWC Iowans feel like a priority without alienating anyone else.. and vice versa.

  16. anonymous redux

    ben, did you really say you “would die” for social equality? a noble sentiment, but, I mean, really? or just an exaggeration to make a point.

    • Plenty of people have died for social equality Civil Rights. Why does it sound that you find the concept ridiculous?

    • I dont have to explain myself or my intentions to you. I said what I said and that is all I will say on the matter.

  17. anonymous redux

    I might “risk” death in certain circumstances, but if I thought it probable that I would die I think I would choose another battle for another day. martyrdom has no appeal.

    • I know this will set you off, but… choosing your battles is a privilege. For many people (POC, Jews, Muslims, women, LBGTQ, immigrants, etc.) the battle takes place on their front yard.

  18. anonymous redux

    I feel the same way about dying for white people, unless it was my own family. remember, the idea here is that I would “probably” die as a result of my action. not just some risk.

  19. anonymous redux

    ben: no, you don’t.

  20. “For many people (POC, Jews, Muslims, women, LBGTQ, immigrants, etc.) the battle takes place on their front yard.”

    If you’re a drug suspect, it takes place right inside your home.

    • that is a choice. It’s a choice i support, but it is a choice.

      • Not if police have the wrong house, which happens way more than it should.

        • No one is arguing with you about that. Why you took it away from the original point baffles me.

          • Because some people don’t recognize the danger police pose to people who aren’t minorities.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: