Open Thread

The Open Thread for 12/4/2018

“President Trump will attend but not speak at this week’s funeral service for former President George Bush, seemingly a compromise intended to respect tradition while avoiding an awkward moment given the animosity between the current president and the Bush family,” the New York Times reports.

“Instead, eulogies will be delivered by former President George W. Bush, Mr. Bush’s son, and two friends, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada and former Senator Alan Simpson, Republican of Wyoming.”

“Rounding out the speakers will be Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer-winning historian and author of the definitive biography of the 41st president.”

Individual One praised longtime associate Roger Stone for refusing to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller.  Said Trump on Twitter: “‘I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out-of-control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump. Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’”

Individual One also said Michael Cohen does not deserve leniency for cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, arguing that his former personal lawyer should serve a “full and complete” prison sentence, The Hill reports.  Said Trump: “He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free [sic]. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”

A new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll finds Joe Biden is the most popular Democrat in a potential 2020 presidential primary, with 28% of Democratic and independent voters saying they’d most likely vote for him.   Biden is followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at 21% and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) at 7%.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) as well as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) — who are all openly considering 2020 campaigns — all polled in the low single-digits.

That is a devastating poll result for Elizabeth Warren.  She is well known among Democratic primary voters.  And she is polling that low?

Wall Street Journal: “Of the 76 Democratic county party leaders who responded to the survey, 43 said they would prefer a young candidate.”

“They said they want a fresh face and expressed interest in potential candidates who haven’t run for president before. They yearn for a nominee with the energizing charisma of President Barack Obama to counter President Donald Trump’s rowdy base. Most said gender wouldn’t be a determining factor.”

President Trump has appointed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a China hard-liner, to lead the next round of U.S.-China talks, after the two sides agreed to a trade truce while they negotiate on a range of difficult issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Playbook: “Democratic Hill leaders appear likely to support a two-week government funding bill, according to two sources familiar with the discussions. This timeline puts the funding fight up against Christmas. An announcement could come as soon as this afternoon.”

Michelle Obama repeated that she has no intention of running for president, the New York Post reports.  Said Obama: “My path has never been politics. I just happened to marry somebody whose passion was politics. Just because he likes it doesn’t mean that I like it!”

Charles Blow: “I expect Trump to admit nothing, even if faced with proof positive of his own misconduct. There is nothing in the record to convince me otherwise. He will call the truth a lie and vice versa.”

“I also don’t think that Trump would ever voluntarily leave office as Nixon did, even if he felt impeachment was imminent. I’m not even sure that he would willingly leave if he were impeached and the Senate moved to convict, a scenario that is hard to imagine at this point.”

“I don’t think any of this gets better, even as the evidence becomes clearer. I don’t believe that Trump’s supporters would reverse course in the same way that Nixon’s did. I don’t believe that the facts Mueller presents will be considered unassailable. I don’t believe Trump will go down without bringing the country down with him.”

“In short, I don’t believe we are reaching the end of a nightmare, but rather we are entering one. This will not get easier, but harder.”

USA Today: “Since Washington’s death, the loss of one of its former leaders has united America in a way few other events can. Americans tend to put political animosity aside and to momentarily forgive a president’s faults, to honor the fallen leader and to celebrate the shared history reflected in his time in office.”

“Each president’s death since Washington has been commemorated with that solemnity and tragedy, though the specifics and form of the memorial have evolved and varied according to the wishes of the president and his family. Still, a general framework for presidential funerals has formed over time.”

Josh Marshall on how the late President Bush set us on the road to Trumpism.  “As he prepared for reelection in 1992 and needed to burnish his credentials on the right, Bush recanted his 1990 [tax raising] decision and said he was wrong to ever agree to the deal. In line with this decision, the blue-blooded Episcopalian Bush essentially subcontracted the 1992 GOP convention to the religious right and the embryonic nationalist right that would be central to the GOP, almost synonymous with it, a quarter century later. Pat Buchanan, who had challenged Bush in the primaries, was given a primetime speaking slot where he gave the blood and soil “culture war” speech which spawned Molly Ivins’ famous refrain that “it probably sounded better in the original German.”

Of course, Bush lost decisively. One of the themes of his son’s presidency was that the pledge and the rebellion over breaking the pledge was central to George W. Bush’s politics. He would never make the same mistake. He would never break with the party’s right on their core issues.  [….]

Bush very much, perhaps in spite of himself, laid the groundwork for the performative politics of rightwing extremism and the valorization of hostility to all compromise which was ushered in with Newt Gingrich, became the center of gravity of GOP politics in the Obama era and came to full bloom under President Trump.”

Daily Beast: “Following the abrupt cancellation of Donald Trump’s G20 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian state media roasted him. Known for seamlessly adhering to the Kremlin’s viewpoint, the troupe of Putin’s cheerleaders took turns laying into the president of the United States.”

Said one commentator: “Trump is a rock hanging around Russia’s neck.”

Said another: “What kind of a man is this – first he says it will happen, then it won’t… This is just foolishness, he seems to be an unbalanced person.”

Incoming Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told Axios he may try to make it harder for the president to impose new tariffs.

“Grassley said he would take a favorable view of legislation limiting the administration’s power to impose tariffs to protect national security (known as Section 232 authority).”

Said Grassley: “Maybe the definition of national security or maybe the conditions under which national security could be used as an excuse is a little wide.”

Rep.-elect Ross Spano (R-FL) has acknowledged that his campaign financing “may have been in violation” of federal law, the Tampa Bay Times reports..

“In a filing with the Federal Elections Commission which Spano released publicly Saturday afternoon, he acknowledged borrowing $180,000 from two people he has described as personal friends from June through October this year, and then lending his campaign $167,000 in roughly the same time period.”

“The Justice Department is planning an unusual appeal to stop the governments of the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia from using a federal lawsuit to demand access to information about whether President Trump is using his luxury Washington hotel to unconstitutionally profit from his office,” Politico reports.

“Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte turned down Trump’s request for permission to seek an appeal of early rulings in the case that went against him. Now, federal government lawyers say they plan to appeal anyway, using a rarely invoked process that can block a wayward judge from pressing on with a course of action alleged to be illegal or improper.”

“The Trump administration is preparing to make another attempt at honoring one of the biggest unfulfilled promises of the president’s election campaign: a $1 trillion upgrade of the nation’s road, rail and energy infrastructure,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“That program failed to materialize during President Trump’s first year in office, as the administration pursued a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which failed, and a major tax cut, which he signed into law in December 2017.”

Playbook: “Mitch McConnell has said no thanks to this in the past.”

Garrett Graff: “One of the least-noticed elements of the special counsel’s approach is that all along, he has been making his case bit by bit, in public, since his very first court filing. With his major court filings so far, Mueller has already written more than 290 pages of the ‘Mueller Report.’ And there are still lots of loose ends in those documents — breadcrumbs Mueller is apparently leaving for later.”

“By making such detailed filings, Mueller is actually increasing his burden of proof — suggesting a supreme confidence that he has the goods.”

“And by making so much public as he goes along, Mueller is also insuring against his probe being shut down or otherwise curtailed by the White House.”

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

14 comments on “The Open Thread for 12/4/2018

  1. On Primaries… Im a little sick of Iowa… Who reelected Steve Kkking, getting so much say in our nominees.

    • I don’t disagree, though I would point out that 75% of the state is now represented by Democrats. Only one congressional district out of four voted for Steve King. So blaming all of Iowa for King is like saying all Delawareans are like those knuckledragger Republicans down in Sussex County.

      • fair point. I wouldn’t want Delaware having out-sized say in the primary either. We voted for Tom Carper.

      • Thank God for those Republicans in Sussex county!

        • agreed. They keep nominating crazy racists and guaranteeing that a repuke will never win statewide office.

        • cassandram

          Who voted for the professional bigot Rob Arlett and the put-out-of-business slumlord Scott Walker.

          Of course you’re proud of that!

          • No, still see signs for Walker, which are attached to trees and whatever else. I still vote with my conscience and the research on the candidates. I still feel that the best person, should lead, instead of the R or D besides their name!

            • Ah, what we have here is a deflection. When presented that the party that YOU PRAISED is just a mob of racist sibling-fuckers, you pretend not to be into parties.

    • RE Vanella

      You should ask Cornel West & Danny Glover & Nina Turner & Harry Belafonte & Ben Jealous about this. As Sanders Institute fellows and conference attendees they will want to know that social justice topics were ignored.

      • RE Vanella

        I forgot Shaun King. Also a fellow. He’ll definitely want to know this. Will probably come as a huge shock to him.

        • cassandram

          And again you are specifically working at being stupid here. Did you even read the article? There were *locals* with specific grievances here. Including the African American woman who was chase out of VERMONT office.

          But I guess I shouldn’t tell you that black people — or their issues — are not interchangeable.

  2. nathan arizona

    At the Chelsea Tavern?

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