Tuesday Reads: Some Democrats Are Getting On My Nerves

Good Morning!!

Is there some way I can just resign from the human race? I don’t want to live in the hell that the Trump gang has turned this country into. I’m also getting sick and tired of a lot of the people who supposedly want to get rid of Trump, but are working in opposition to that goal–not only people like Bernie Sanders and his followers obviously, but also a lot of other Democrats.

Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi made what I considered to be a strategic statement about impeachment, and suddenly a lot of people who claimed to like the way she has been handling Trump are now attacking her.

The Washington Post: Nancy Pelosi on Impeaching Trump: ‘He’s Just Not Worth It.’

Pelosi began the interview by sharing a quote from Abraham Lincoln that is etched into a plaque in her office: “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

It was public sentiment, Pelosi says, that convinced her President Trump would back down in the standoff over funding a border wall that partially shut down the government for 35 days earlier this year. And it is public sentiment, she says, that will guide her as she leads the House Democrats and seeks to use their powers as a check on a president she believes disregards the Constitution.

When she was asked about impeachment, Pelosi said:

I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.

This is being reported by many so-called journalists as “taking impeachment off the table.” But that isn’t what Pelosi said. Back in 2005, she did say exactly that about George W. Bush. This time, she’s clearly saying that she needs “compelling and overwhelming” evidence and “bipartisan” support before she’ll call for impeachment. She’s not telling committee chairs to stop investigating Trump, because it is exactly those investigations that will lead to the “public sentiment” necessary to impeach and convict him.

That’s my take too. We need public committee hearings in which the American people will be educated as to the level of corruption and criminality that is going on in the Trump administration. And when public opinion shifts, Pelosi will say that she has been convinced by the evidence and she will call for impeachment.

Pelosi also managed to work in a dig that will get under Trump’s skin–“he’s not worth it.” In addition she said this in the interview:

You said earlier you don’t feel it’s worth it to pursue impeachment. Do you believe he’s fit to be president?

Are we talking ethically? Intellectually? Politically? What are we talking here? [….]

All of the above. No. No. I don’t think he is. I mean, ethically unfit. Intellectually unfit. Curiosity-wise unfit. No, I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States. And that’s up to us to make the contrast to show that this president — while he may be appealing to you on your insecurity and therefore your xenophobia, whether it’s globalization or immigrants — is fighting clean air for your children to breathe, clean water for them to drink, food safety, every good thing that we should be doing that people can’t do for themselves. You know, I have five kids, and I think I can do everything for them, but I can’t control the air they breathe, the water that they drink. You depend on the public sector to do certain things for the health and well-being of your family, and he is counter to that.

I’m confident that when the time comes, Pelosi will call for impeachment.

Another thing Democrats are doing that has me ready to scream and pull my hair out is the calls for Joe Biden to run for president and the claims that only he can win back the rust belt. I’m sorry, but I don’t think he can do that and, in any case, I don’t think the rust belt is going to be as important this time.

The person who wins the nomination in 2020 is going to have to carry the black vote–especially the votes of black women–and I don’t think Biden can do that once all his baggage comes out. In 2020, California will vote on Super Tuesday, so whoever wins there is going to be in a powerful position. I don’t think Biden can beat Kamala Harris there, since she has already tied up endorsements from so many public officials there.

Some of Biden’s baggage: 1) he is 76 year old; 2) he has already run for president twice and lost decisively; 3) he helped put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court by minimizing Anita Hill’s testimony about Thomas’ sexual harassment of her and refusing to allow testimony by other women abused by Thomas. 4) his horrible criminal justice record; his support of and vote for the bankruptcy bill; his opposition to integration through busing, which was basically just opposition to integration period; his plagarism scandals;  his groping of women; and his constant, embarrassing gaffes.

I’m sure there is more baggage, but those are the things I can think of off the top of my head.

Here’s Jamelle Bouie on Biden and busing: The Trouble With Biden.

As they begin their search for a nominee, most Democrats — more than half, according to a February poll from Monmouth University — prize electability above all else. They want a sure thing, someone who will beat President Trump.

But beating Trump isn’t the same as beating Trumpism. Unseating the president won’t automatically undermine the white resentment and racial chauvinism that drive his movement. That will depend on the nature of the campaign against him and whether it challenges the assumptions of his ideology or affirms them in the name of electoral pragmatism.

Joe Biden in the 1970s

The possibility of defeating Trump without defeating Trumpism looms over Joe Biden’s possible run for the 2020 Democratic nomination. The former vice president’s not-yet-candidacy centers on his appeal to the white, blue-collar workers who rejected Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump. He believes he could have won them in 2016, and he thinks he can win them now. This isn’t just about Biden’s working-class affect. As a senator from Delaware, Biden understood himself as a staunch defender of Middle American interests.

But those interests were racialized, which is how a younger Biden could at once be a committed liberal and an ardent opponent of busing to desegregate his state’s public schools. As an article in The Washington Post last week demonstrated, Biden was at the forefront of opposition to busing in Delaware. The rhetoric he deployed in defense of his position channeled the visceral hostility of suburban (and urban) whites whose children were bused or whose schools took in bused children.

“I do not buy the concept, popular in the ’60s, which said, ‘We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead in the race for everything our society offers. In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race,’” Biden told a Delaware-based weekly newspaper in 1975. “I don’t buy that.”

Biden made his argument using language that is still common to opponents of efforts to rectify racial inequality: “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather. I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation. And I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”

Read the rest at the New York Times.

Politico has an interesting article about the “yearslong feud” between Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden.

On a February morning in 2005 in a hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Joe Biden confronted Elizabeth Warren over a subject they’d been feuding over for years: the country’s bankruptcy laws. Biden, then a senator from Delaware, was one of the strongest backers of a bill meant to address the skyrocketing rate at which Americans were filing for bankruptcy. Warren, at the time a Harvard law professor, had been fighting to kill the same legislation for seven years. She had castigated Biden, accusing him of trying “to sell out women” by pushing for earlier versions of the bill. Now, with the legislation nearing a vote, Biden publicly grappled with Warren face to face.

Warren, Biden allowed, had made “a very compelling and mildly demagogic argument” about why the bill would hurt people who needed to file for bankruptcy because of medical debt or credit card bills they couldn’t pay. But Biden had what he called a “philosophic question,” according to the Congressional Record’s transcript of the hearing that day: Who was responsible? Were the rising number of people who filed for bankruptcy each year taking advantage of their creditors by trying to escape their debts? Or were credit card companies and other lenders taking advantage of an increasingly squeezed middle class?

Warren blamed the lenders. Many credit card companies charged so much in fees and interest that they weren’t losing money when some of their customers went bankrupt, she said. “That is, they have squeezed enough out of these families in interest and fees and payments that never paid down principal,” Warren said.

Biden parried. “Maybe we should talk about usury rates, then,” he replied. “Maybe that is what we should be talking about, not bankruptcy.”

“Senator, I will be the first. Invite me.”

“I know you will, but let’s call a spade a spade,” Biden said. “Your problem with credit card companies is usury rates from your position. It is not about the bankruptcy bill.”

Read the rest at Politico.

One more from Josh Voorhees at Slate, who worries that Biden could win the nomination: The Old, White Giant.

The one major constant throughout [the 2020 Democratic race so far]: the looming presence of Joe Biden, who has been teasing a presidential run more or less since the day after the 2016 election. Biden would face many hurdles if he gets into the race—his age and his record chief among them—but it’s far from certain any are the deal breakers that some pundits and prognosticators have suggested.

To be clear, I do not think Biden should win the Democratic nomination; I simply fear that he will. Despite a record that looks conservative in hindsight, a worldview that is troubling in the present, and an identity that does little for the future, Biden appears to be too well-known, well-liked, and well-connected to be denied the nomination.

Let’s begin with the polls. Biden has led nearly every hypothetical field in almost every single major survey taken since Election Day 2016, notwithstanding the usual caveats about polls. Polls can’t predict the future, but they can tell us plenty about the present—and the present looks mighty good for Uncle Joe. He sits just shy of 30 percent in RealClearPolitics’ rolling average, roughly 10 points clear of a crowded field in which all but Sanders and Harris remain mired in single digits. More telling than the size of Biden’s lead is the consistency of his support, which has not wavered even as a bevy of credible and compelling contenders has taken turns introducing themselves to the nation.

The common refrain this far out from the early nominating contests is that polling performances are driven largely by name recognition, which is true. But last I checked, name recognition is a requirement for electoral success, especially in a crowded field. Any candidate would love to be in Biden’s position, which allows him to take press coverage as a given and would help him overcome his lack of a small-donor network. And more crucial than being well-known is being well-liked, and no one in the field is more beloved than Uncle Joe, even when you account for his national profile. According to the latest data from Morning Consult, which has been in the field daily since early January, a whopping 79 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the former veep, compared with just 11 percent of Democrats who do not. That’s largely why Biden was also the most common answer when fans of Sanders, Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke were asked for their second choice.

Read the rest at Slate. I disagree; I think Biden will screw up again if he runs, but I would much rather he just didn’t run.

What stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread.

28 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Some Democrats Are Getting On My Nerves”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      I can’t believe that some of these folks can’t see how strategic her moves are. She’s got good game theory. I think the press is doing it’s usual thing of pearl clutching for ratings frankly. It’s idiotic.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I’m with you, Dak

      • quixote says:

        Attacking Pelosi is beyond dumb. They’re doing that? Jesus on a paddleboard. There’s a reason I get my news from my Hillary-friends.

        But I do agree with the criticism, not the attacks, that she needs to plainly speak the truth: he *deserves* impeachment a dozen times over.

        She needs to *say* that there are too many complicit Republicans to be able to follow the law.

        People need to hear the truth sometimes, as well as be told what works.

        • quixote says:

          Lots of people saying it was a smart political move, depriving Repubs of a rallying cry about how mean the Dems are to the Dump.

          Pelosi is about ten parsecs ahead of me when it comes to anything political.

  2. Riverbird says:

    I feel exactly the same way about the response to Pelosi and about Biden. I’ve never forgiven him for Clarence Thomas. I think he does well in polls now simply because he’s been around so long. I don’t think he can win the general election, so I hope he doesn’t get the nomination. We need a candidate with far less baggage.

    • NW Luna says:

      No, Joe. Just go awaaaaaay. If you don’t, we will vote you down while shouting “I believe Anita Hill!”

      • quixote says:

        Jamelle Bouie’s point is excellent.

        But beating Trump isn’t the same as beating Trumpism. Unseating the president won’t automatically undermine the white resentment and racial chauvinism that drive his movement. That will depend on the nature of the campaign against him and whether it challenges the assumptions of his ideology or affirms them in the name of electoral pragmatism.

        The calls for Biden come from a place of “let’s win at any cost.” (Not that he would win anyway. It’s strategically moronic too.) It does not come from a movement to win our country back.

        • NW Luna says:

          “Not that he would win anyway” Yes. He lost spectacularly when he’s run for the nom before, and there’s no reason to think anything different will happen this time. It’ll probably be even worse for him.

  3. NW Luna says:

    At first I didn’t agree with Pelosi but after more reflection realized she is taking the best available course. We need a Dem majority in the Senate as well as the House before we can realistically talk impeachment. Taking it off the table does deprive the Rethugs of one of their arguments — “That Democrat Party wants to impeach our President*!” In the meantime there are so many things to be done and to be investigated.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    My assessment of Joe Biden is that for me he represents every Irish Catholic man who passed the basket on Sunday mornings. A grinning fool who felt being close to the clergy was a sign of his own “greatness”. Hypocrite.

    I cannot bear his “hail fellow well met” schtick. How can anyone with half a brain praise Mike Pence who stands for every issue we despise as Democrats.

    But if for some reason we get stuck with Biden as the nominee I will be forced to vote for him as the alternative of 4 more years of Trump is repulsive.

    Holding my nose in the voting booth is not something I envision but if this is what it takes to send Trump a defeat, so be it.

    • dakinikat says:

      Biden’s time was over years ago. He was the happy court jester to Obama and did well in that role. His horrible record on the crime bill, Anita Hill, and on desegregation via busing will come out and the black people will leave him in the dust. As for Bernie, his voters might as well vote for Trump again. They’ll buy anything. And weren’t we supposed to see his taxes in a “few weeks”. Like 10 years of them? He and Jane are grifters as much as the Trump family crime syndicate are grifters then some. Whatever happened to that investigation of Jane cheating that small Catholic College out of funds to buy some boondoogle of a campus?

      • Enheduanna says:

        You pegged the Sanders’es perfectly. As soon as he announced his candidacy (and who ever doubted he would) he raked in $6 million dollars from his dumbell followers. Then his entire top campaign staff quit two days later – so you know it was about how to spend the money. They had all been recipients of his previous haul in 2016.

        I don’t see any recent articles about the bank fraud investigation of Jane but surely that will come out? Bernie has never released his tax returns – same as Dump..

        • NW Luna says:

          He’s working on releasing his taxes … just a few “mechanical” problems, I heard the other week. Riiiiiiiight. Can’t figure out how to work the copier, or is it how to open the document? Do we want you to run the country if you can’t figure out how to get to your tax return?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Burlington College wasn’t a Catholic school.

  5. NW Luna says:

    I don’t want to live in the hell that the Trump gang has turned this country into. I’m also getting sick and tired of a lot of the people who supposedly want to get rid of Trump, but are working in opposition to that goal–not only people like Bernie Sanders and his followers obviously, but also a lot of other Democrats.

    I’m with you. It’s incredibly draining. I know that’s one of their weapons, but I’m more worn out each day.

  6. Enheduanna says:

    This part of the Slate piece:

    “….Biden appears to be too well-known, well-liked, and well-connected to be denied the nomination.”

    We need to add “….too white and too male….” to that list. Interesting also how that isn’t translating into his being too “entitled” (but Hillary was).

  7. Pelosi’s position on impeachment is simply practical. It is a mere 19 months until the 2020 election; it will take many of those months to categorically identify the “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Only then can the House specifically draw up the charges and bring the issue to a vote. Then, it goes to the Senate for the trial. So how many months is it likely to be between the Senate impeachment vote and the election?
    As I see it, the country would experience the most rancorous and divisive event imaginable an inch away from Election Day 2020. Now that would be dumb!
    Much wiser, to my mind, would be identifying all the crimes and misdemeanors and then writing the legislation necessary to see that it never happens again. That effort would showcase the Democrats commitment to clean, responsible and responsive government.

    • dakinikat says:

      Exactly. MItch McConnell is never EVER gonna let that move forward anyway unless some miracle of miracles strikes him and he develops something other than the desire to hold power at all costs.

  8. dakinikat says:

    My muse today is Senator Harris: This IS a disgrace!!!

    • dakinikat says:

      • NW Luna says:

        I posted a link to that article yesterday. I’m feeling worse than I have in a long, long time.

        This is cruel. Although they say it “trims” Medicare “by targeting fraud and abuse” it also includes cuts to providers. There are already many providers who don’t take Medicare because the payments are so low (or the ins payments for private plans are too high). This just makes it even harder for people on Medicare to get care. There are also cuts to the CDC, to clean water and shorelines preservation, to adult cancer research, and to many more good programs.

        I wish I’d moved to Canada 20 years ago when I was young enough to be a desirable immigrant.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Maybe they can get Senator Rick Scott of Florida to pay back his share of that fraud.

  9. Enheduanna says:

    HAHAHAHAHA There’s talk of Tucker Carlson going on “vacation”….