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.

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Wednesday Morning Hang out and Open Thread

Good Morning and What a Morning it is!download (5)

I’ll just give you something to munch on!

Hillary Clinton’s Got This

Something truly crazy would have to happen for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination.

To borrow a phrase from Dan Rather, Hillary Clinton swept through the South like a big wheel through a Delta cotton field on Super Tuesday. Shewon seven states total, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia in the South. She also won Massachusetts and American Samoa. Bernie Sanders emerged victorious in four states (Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Vermont), but his victories tended to come by smaller margins and in smaller states. The end result is that Clinton has a clear path to winning the nomination, and Sanders’s only hope to derail her is for something very unusual to happen.

We’ve now seen 15 states vote in the Democratic contest, and it’s clear that Clinton’s coalition is wider than Sanders’s. Sanders has won only in relatively small states where black voters make up less than 10 percent of the population. That’s not going to work this year when black voters are likely to make up more than 20 percent of Democratic primary voters nationwide.

On Tuesday, we saw why. As she did in Nevada and South Carolina, Clinton won huge margins of black voters. Her worst performance was in Oklahoma, where 71 percent of black voters in the Democratic primary chose her. InAlabama, she won 93 percent of black voters on her way to winning 78 percent of Democrats overall. Clinton took no less than 64 percent of the overall vote in the southern states she won.


Monday Reads: Here we go again

12809656_10153257291792352_1600803200710685432_nGood Morning!

I had quite the weekend.  It was so hectic I managed to miss a wedding because I got the dates totally confused.   I’m trying to undo some of my karma this morning and that’s definitely going on the list. I’m so scatter brained these days I don’t even feel like me at times.  I had friends in from NYC and lots of Hillary work to do. It’s just been super crazy here.

Most everyone knows that the New Orleans Hillary peeps–including me–have been making phone calls to GOTV. We’ve had all kinds of stuff going on on the ground related to actually getting people to the polls. I’ve not gotten any calls from the other side but several folks showed up for a march around the French Quarter for Bernie.  As you probably know, our city is like 60% black.  There might have been 100 or so people in the march.  I only saw white faces there.  This continues to be sadly telling.

However, I can tell you about the time I’ve spent with the Hillary campaign this last few weeks. I’m so proud of the diversity of her supporter base.  I was on the phone yesterday and there were two of us aging boomers in the room. Both of us were women.  One white. One black. The diversity of the young supporters was amazing and there was a good size group. There were two Asian Americans, a Hispanic, three young black women, a young white woman and a black man. I know that many were from the GLBT community too. They were all millennials, so don’t believe it when they say there are no young people supporting Hillary.  She has a rainbow of them right down here in New Orleans.  I also spent the evening talking to Dr. Son in law who is a strong Hillary supporter along with Dr. Daughter.  As you know, Dr. Daughter had a Japanese Grandmother and Dr. Son-in-law’s family hails from the Bengal region of India. Both are avid Hillary supporters.

BB mentioned the stages of grief.  I’m pretty sure folks I know in the Sanders camp are somewhat stuck between denial and anger.  The South Carolina primary should’ve been a wake up call for the narrowing path to victory for their candidate.   The Team fighting here for Hillary on the ground definitely matches these kinds of numbers.Miguel

A bruising, nearly 48-point loss to Hillary Clinton in South Carolina on Saturday night dramatically narrowed the path forward for Bernie Sanders, raising serious doubts about his ability to win the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

South Carolina will widen Clinton’s delegate lead, which stood at one after her Nevada win on Feb. 20. But more significantly, the contest here demonstrated that the Vermont senator has failed to make any headway at all with African-American voters in the South. Even with 200 paid Sanders staffers on the ground and nearly $2 million in television spending, Clinton swept the black vote by a 5-to-1 ratio, according to exit polls. Among black voters 65 and older, Clinton won by a stunning 96 percent to 3 percent.

“When we stand together, there is no barrier too big to break,” Clinton said at her victory rally in Columbia, where, for the first time on a 2016 election night, she took the stage without Bill or Chelsea Clinton by her side. “Tomorrow, we take this campaign national.”

Now, heading into Super Tuesday, when 11 states will cast ballots on March 1, Sanders will face possibly insurmountable contests in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Virginia, all states with sizable black populations in which he has not invested as much time or money.

“Delegates determine the presidential nomination, and I don’t see a path for Sanders to get there,” said Jeff Berman, a consultant to the Clinton campaign who ran Barack Obama’s 2008 delegate strategy.

Running through a best-case scenario for Sanders, Clinton operatives said they expect Sanders could win Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont — states tailor-made for the democratic socialist because they hold caucuses, are predominantly white, located in New England or have a history of electing progressives.

But even if Sanders manages to pull out significant wins in all five, the delegate math will make it difficult for Sanders to catch up: They represent only one-third of the delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. And the Clinton campaign has invested heavily in states like Colorado and Minnesota in order to limit Sanders’ margins.

Sanders’ operatives said they are looking beyond Super Tuesday, to the friendlier terrain of Kansas, Nebraska and Maine to deliver them wins. But by then, Clinton operatives predicted, it could be too little, too late to close the delegate gap.

 

krewe hillary swagBB has been insistent that Mass. will go for Hillary.  It seems that recent polls back her up.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton holds an eight-point lead over Bernie Sanders in a new poll of Massachusetts Democratic primary voters, suggesting that the Vermont senator needs to attract significant support during the final push to eke out a much-needed win in Tuesday’s Massachusetts presidential primary.

Clinton draws 50 percent of the vote, while Sanders picks up 42 percent and eight percent remain undecided, according to the Suffolk University poll released Sunday. The poll was conducted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I expect record turnout to continue with the nation’s Black voters because they know what’s at stake.  The dismantling of the Voting Rights Act is a not something trivial.  This will not go away.  Here in Louisiana and in New Orleans, turning out the Black vote is important.   The community is coming together for Hillary as she stands as the symbol and the promise of continuing President Obama’s legacy.  This is something not lost on any of us that were active in 2007 and 2008 from either the Clinton or Obama Camps.

As voters in South Carolina’s Democratic primary cast ballots that would ultimately lead to a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton deployed surrogates in an attempt to expand that winning strategy to Louisiana.

Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stumped for Clinton in Louisiana, hoping to increase turnout among black voters.

That bloc proved key to Clinton’s win in South Carolina. There she picked up 86 percent of the African-American vote, according to ABC News exit polling data.

Nutter was in Baton Rouge Friday (Feb. 26) to host a round table discussion with business leaders before campaigning with Landrieu at Dillard University.

Foxx, who joined the Obama administration in 2013, spent Sunday touring African-American churches in New Orleans.

There’s still one HUGE deal.  The Donald and his goosestepping followers really trouble me. There are two things that have popped up that are just beyond the pale.  Let’s start with this one: 12795310_10207586747399152_76255253964693655_n

Don Trump Jr. said he would happily pay for some of his father’s black critics to leave the United States.

The Republican presidential candidate’s son appeared Monday morning with his brother, Eric Trump, on “Fox and Friends” to discuss the “Super Tuesday” primary elections and the concerted attacks on their father by his GOP rivals.

And then there’s this one. His earpiece made him all confused about not knowing about David Duke and his association with the KKK.  This guy blames every one and every thing for his own damned ignorance, I swear!

Donald Trump on Monday blamed a poor earpiece for sparking a misunderstanding over white nationalist David Duke’s support of the GOP presidential front-runner.

“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece they gave me,” he told hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I sit down and I have a lousy earpiece provided by them,” Trump continued. “You could hardly hear what [CNN anchor Jake Tapper] was saying.

“What I heard was ‘various groups.’ I have no problem disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It’d be very unfair disavowing a group if they shouldn’t be disavowed.”

Trump waved off questions about Duke during a Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He repeatedly told Tapper he is unaware of the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard’s background and stances.

The outspoken billionaire on Monday lashed out at CNN for ignoring his multiple rejections of Duke’s support over the weekend.

“I’ve disavowed David Duke all weekend long on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s obviously never enough,” Trump said. “I disavowed David Duke the day before in a major news conference.

12798958_10101603023909336_5483709449666623779_nEven the ever Trump-fellating Joe Scarborough thought this gaffe was a bit off. 

They weren’t hard questions to answer.

“Do you condemn David Duke? And the Ku Klux Klan?”

A simple “yes” would have worked. But on Sunday, Donald Trump swatted away the easy answers and instead feigned ignorance about the KKK and its most infamous Grand Wizard. The Republican frontrunner’s failure to provide what should have been a simple answer has raised even more disturbing questions about the man who is on course to lock down the GOP’s nomination for president.

The first question is why would Trump pretend to be so ignorant of American history that he refused to pass judgment on the Ku Klux Klan before receiving additional information? What kind of facts could possibly mitigate a century of sins committed by a violent hate group whose racist crimes terrorized Americans and placed a shameful blot on this nation’s history?

Why would the same man who claims to have “the world’s greatest memory”say “I don’t know anything about David Duke” just two days after he condemned the former Klansman in a nationally televised press conference? And with that amazing memory, how could Donald Trump have forgotten that he himself refused to run for president as a Reform Party nominee in 2000 because “Klansman” David Duke was a member of that same party?

These are questions that have no good answers for a Republican Party on the verge of nominating a man who sounds more like a Dixiecrat from the 1950s than the kind of nominee the GOP needs four years after losing Hispanics by 44 percent, Asian-Americans by 47 percent, and black Americans by 87 percent.

anthony foxx and hillaryAs I said, ask any black voter in the South and you’ll hear exactly what’s at stake. Women, minorities, and the GLBT community do not want to go back to the kind of American that Trump’s voters represent because we all know what that means. Will the Republican Party really implode?  How far can Trump go in the General and what will he say and do once he faces former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?  This is Philip Rucker and Robert Costa writing at WAPO.

The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year.

At a moment when Republicans had hoped to begin taking on Hillary Clinton — who is seemingly on her way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination — the GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.

A campaign full of racial overtones and petty, R-rated put-downs grew even uglier Sunday after Trump declined repeatedly in a CNN interview to repudiate the endorsement of him by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump had disavowed Duke at a news conference on Friday, but he stammered when asked about Duke on Sunday.

Marco Rubio, who has been savaging Trump as a “con man” for three days, responded by saying that Trump’s defiance made him “unelectable.” The senator from Florida said at a rally in Northern Virginia, “We cannot be the party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists.”

The fracas comes as the presidential race enters a potentially determinative month of balloting, beginning with primaries and caucuses in 11 states on Tuesday. As the campaign-trail rhetoric grew noxious over the weekend, a sense of fatalism fell over the Republican firmament, from elected officials and figureheads to major donors and strategists.

“This is an existential choice,” said former senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who is backing Rubio. Asked how the party could unite, Coleman said: “It gets harder every day when you hear things like not disavowing the KKK and David Duke. It’s not getting easier; it’s getting more difficult. . . . I’m hopeful the party won’t destroy itself.”

The choice for voters is not simply one of preference but rather a fundamental one about the direction they want to take the country, with the insurgent Trump promising utter transformation.

“For many Republicans, Trump is more than just a political choice,” said Kevin Madden, a veteran operative who advised 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. “It’s a litmus test for character.”

Madden, like some of his peers, said he could never vote for Trump. If he is the nominee, Madden said, “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience.”

More splintering came late Sunday when freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who has been a vocal Trump critic, declared on Twitter that if the reality TV star is nominated, he will “look for some 3rd candidate — a conservative option, a Constitutionalist.”

12799370_10207103252433397_7610076389051235349_nWith all Trumps’ issues, I agree with Amanda Marcotte on this one.  He’s not less crazy than the Cruz and Rubio boys.  I recommend reading her latest just for the linky goodness.  She’s documented some pretty unpalatable stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I like Trump — I hate him with the passion of a thousand burning suns — or that I want him to be president. But yes, I think he should win the Republican nomination. He’s run the best campaign, one that speaks to what Republican voters want to hear, and, by that measure, he deserves to win the nomination, so that Hillary Clinton can wipe the floor with him in November.

This is not a popular opinion, and not just with the establishment Republicans who can’t help acting like the main problem with Trump is he puts his dirty shoes on the couch. The common wisdom in most of the media — conservative, mainstream and liberal — is that a Trump nomination would be a ruinous thing, a blow to both the Republican Party and the political system as we know it. To which I can’t help but say, “So what?”
 I don’t agree with Trump supporters on, well, almost anything, but I can’t help sharing in the pleasure they take with the way that Trump’s very existence exposes the smarmy two-faced hypocrisy of the modern Republican Party. Modern conservatism is built on a base of protecting men’s dominance over women, white people’s dominance over people of color and rich people’s dominance over everyone else, but it’s generally considered impolite to say so bluntly. Instead, it’s standard for Republicans to pretend that policies obviously designed to screw people over are meant to help.  That puts journalists in this terrible situation of having to pretend that Republicans mean well, since it’s generally considered impolitic to call someone a liar.
Trump doesn’t play that game, at least not as much, and it is nakedly obvious that this, and not his actual beliefs and policies, is what angers many of his detractors. Take, for instance, Jonah Goldberg of the National Review on Fox News recently, complaining that Trump is “completely overturning what the Republican reset was supposed to be about after 2012, which was this idea that it was going to be a more consistently conservative but more inclusive and nicer toned party.”
“And instead it’s going to be a less conservative but meaner toned and less inclusive party,” he added.

To which I must again say, “So what?” People who value kindness and inclusivity already have a party. They’re called the Democrats.

12803006_1718058728406271_183103720682307753_nI can certainly attest to that down here in the Mississippi River melting pot of America called New Orleans.  The line’s in Hillary speech that got the most applause for the night were just about that.  Our country is a great country  but unless is kind and inclusive of all its peoples, we’re not being the sort’ve of country that’s the shining beacon on a hill.

So, you’re seeing pictures of the folks working for Hillary here in New Orleans. I added one of the Honorable Anthony Foxx for good measure.  I see lots of YOUNG people with energy, smiling faces, and enthusiasm!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  Be sure to holler out about the upcoming primaries in your states!  I know we’ve got lots of Sky Dancers out there ready to vote for Hillary this week and this month!!!


Live Blog: Super Tuesday Results

Super Tuesday states and delegate counts

Hi Sky Dancers! Are you ready to rumble? No? Well then stick around for our live blog of the Super Tuesday primaries. The delegates of ten states that are voting today will all be distributed proportionally. There are no winner-take-all states. The polls close at (all times EST):

7:00PM in Vermont, Georgia, and Virginia
7:30PM in Ohio
8:00PM in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Oklahoma
9:00PM in North Dakota
10:00PM in Idaho
12:00AM in Alaska.

There is quite a bit of disagreement about how many delegates each of the candidates has accumulated, so I’m going with Politico’s estimates:

Romney 180
Santorum 90
Gingrich 29
Paul 23
Huntsman 2

According to Nate Silver’s Guide to Super Tuesday, the outcome tonight

could reasonably range from one in which Mitt Romney seems to have the nomination all but wrapped up to a situation that casts his nomination in doubt.

Mr. Romney is likely to remain the favorite to win the nomination almost no matter what happens. He is also very likely to finish with the largest number of delegates from the evening. He comes into the night with perhaps the most favorable momentum he has had at any point in the nomination process; some of his disastrous outcomes were pushed aside by his wins in the past week in Michigan, Arizona and Washington.

Still, the line between a resplendent night for Mr. Romney and a suspect one is relatively slim, both in terms of the delegate count and the narrative it will generate. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have a lot on the line as well, possibly including their continued survival in the race.

Josh Putnam, a political science professor, says it’s already over before the votes are counted.

Santorum can’t get to 1144 …and neither can Gingrich.

FHQ has been saying since our Very Rough Estimate of the delegate counts a couple of weeks ago that Romney is the only candidate who has a chance to get there. But, of course, I have not yet shown my work. No, it isn’t mathematically impossible, but it would take either Gingrich or Santorum over-performing their established level of support in the contests already in the history books to such an extent that it is all but mathematically impossible. Santorum, for instance, has averaged 24.2% of the vote in all the contests. Since (and including) his February 7 sweep, he is averaging 34.7% of the vote. That is an improvement, but it is not nearly enough to get the former Pennsylvania senator within range of the 1144 delegates necessary to win the Republican nomination.

You can read the rest at Putnam’s blog.

At the WaPo, Chris Cilizza has a guide to the five storylines to watch tonight. You can read the whole thing at the link, but here’s his take on whether Romney can end it tonight:

From a delegate point of view, Romney is nowhere near clinching the nomination. (Check out our video explaining all of the delegate math.)

But, there is a path toward him closing out the nomination — for all intents and purposes — tonight. How? Romney needs to be able to claim a sort of national victory, winning somewhere in every region of the country.

The Northeast is locked up as Romney will cruise in his home-ish state of Massachusetts and Vermont. He’s likely to get a win (if not two) out of the Plains/West with the North Dakota and Idaho caucuses. Ohio is Romney’s chance in the Midwest/ Rust Belt.

That leaves the South. Gingrich is going to win Georgia. Santorum looks strong in Oklahoma and it’s somewhat debateable whether that counts as the South anyway. Tennessee is clearly Romney’s best chance to win in the South even though polling suggests that Santorum has a narrow edge….

If Romney wins — for the sake of argument — Ohio, Tennessee, North Dakota, Idaho, Vermont and Massachusetts — he can make a compelling case to the Republican establishment, which has been loathe to get off the sidelines thus far in the race, that he is the only national candidate left in the field.

Brent Budowsky claims that the Republican “establishment” (whoever they are) will “lay down the law” to the right wingers tomorrow.

When the rooster crows on Super Wednesday, the insider establishment that runs the GOP will lay down the law to Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and all true conservatives: It is time to unite behind the candidate of the establishment that runs the party, which does not include Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Rick Perry, Herman Cain or true conservatives of any kind.

The voting on Super Tuesday will determine whether this insider GOP establishment will have enough brute clout to force opponents of Mitt Romney out of the race beginning in earnest on Super Wednesday, or whether the the process must continue. The pressure to withdraw will be excruciating. The private inducements to drop out will be enormous. The threats against candidates refusing to drop out will be secret, but savage.

I’m not sure how Budowsky, a Democrat, knows this, but it sounds reasonable. Here’s a bit more:

In the GOP, the insider, banking, Wall Street and K Street establishment is the boss. Period.

True conservatives have been humiliated in this primary season because they began without a credible conservative presidential candidate and will likely end being force-fed Mitt Romney, whom most of them privately consider a phony (which he is) who will betray them if elected (which he will).

So have it! Let us know what you’re hearing in your neck of the woods or on whatever media outlet or big blog you are following. Personally, I’m still rooting for Romney to lose somehow, but I’m not all that hopeful it will happen.


Super Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

Today is the day Willard Mitt Romney has been working toward since 1994 when he first ran for the Senate against Ted Kennedy. Think of the hundreds of millions of dollars he has poured into his dream of winning the presidency, only to end up on Super Tuesday 2012 with a 28% favorability rating according to the latest NBC-WSJ poll (h/t Dakinikat). Nevertheless, Romney could be the inevitable candidate after tonight–at least the Republican “establishment,” such as it is, hopes he will be.

As you can see in the image above, there are 437 delegates at stake today in the ten Super Tuesday states–that’s more than a third of the total delegates needed to win the Republican nomination.

My home state of Massachusetts holds its primary today, but I’ll be voting on the Democratic side for Elizabeth Warren for Senate. I’m actually getting a little worried about her now that Scott Brown has been leading in the polls for a couple of weeks now.

It looks like Romney will win easily here anyway. In fact, according the Washington Post, “Mass. Republicans hope a big Romney primary win Tuesday could put state into play in November”

Polls show Romney with a commanding lead among GOP primary voters here. His Republican challengers — Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich — have put little money or effort into the state.

But those same polls show Romney trailing President Barack Obama by double digits in a state that has traditionally shunned Republican presidential candidates.

Massachusetts Republicans are hoping that Romney will be able to buck that trend by reeling in voters in the state he governed for four years.

“He’ll put Massachusetts in play,” said state Republican Party Chairman Bob Maginn.

I sure hope not! Romney isn’t popular here, and he wasn’t popular as governor. But if the state ends up being competitive, I guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and vote for Obama.

Nate Silver was posting Super Tuesday updates all day yesterday, and his predictions are laid out in a sidebar at his blog. He is forecasting wins for Romney in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia. He expects Santorum to win Wisconsin, Tennesee, Oklahoma, and Gingrich to win his home state of Georgia.

As for the caucus states of North Dakota, Vermont, Idaho, and Alaska, which account for 87 delegates Silver’s colleague Micah Cohen says anything could happen.  Personally, I think Romney should take Vermont, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul or Santorum take North Dakota.

Over at Real Clear Politics you can see a table showing all of the latest Super Tuesday polls.  Of course we’ll be live blogging the results tonight here at Sky Dancing, so please join us!

Soooo …. Here are a few headlines to get the big day started.

Howard Fineman says the Republican Party has become America’s First Religious Party

Whatever happens on Super Tuesday, the Republican primary season already has made history. The contest has confirmed the establishment of America’s first overtly religious major political party.

The signs are numerous, but it’s still easy to miss the big picture: that the GOP now is best understood as the American Faith Party (AFP) and its members as conservative Judeo-Christian-Mormon Republicans. The basement of St. Peter’s is just one clubhouse.

“There has never been anything like it in our history,” said Princeton historian Sean Wilentz. “‘God’s Own Party’ now really is just that.”

Fineman says most people don’t seem too thrilled by this idea. Duh!

The new GOP does not seem to be sitting well with the American people as a whole, or even with many traditional Republicans. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine is only the latest non-AFP-type Republican to decide to leave politics and/or the party. In the new ruling class, “revival tent” proponents are driving out the old “big tent” advocates. And a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 40 percent of American adults think less of the party after watching its transformation this electoral season.

Will this spell the end of the GOP?

I happened to watch Hardball last night and to my horror, I saw Willard Mitt Romney in Tennessee reciting the words to an old song I recall from my childhood (but would have preferred to leave there), “Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier.”  It came from a Disney movie of the same name. Charlie Pierce hated it too.

Romney is the personification of the word “dork.”

It turns out Ann Romney may have the same problem as her husband. She can’t help making remarks about being rich. Yesterday she appeared on Fox News and claimed, “I don’t even consider myself wealthy.”

Yeah, that’s “an interesting thing.” I wish she’d send me some of the $21 million the Romneys took in last year. Ann Romney is beginning to remind me of Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom.

Just one more Romney link: Sam Stein found a debate from 2008 in which Romney said he likes health care insurance mandates. Romney’s spokesman said it’s not a flip flop. You be the judge. Frankly, I don’t see how Romney can recall which side of an issue he’s on from one minute to the next.

There’s an embarrassing story from Rick Santorum’s history at Huffpo by Jason Cherkis.

For a brief moment Monday afternoon, GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum jettisoned his conservative, culture-warrior talking points to make a down-to-earth connection with Ohio voters. He confessed that as a teenager, he used to cross the Ohio border to buy beer because the state’s legal drinking age was 18. “I used to enjoy going to Ohio,” he said.

That’s funny. We used to do that in Indiana too. Ohio’s drinking age for 3.2 beer was 16 in those days. It was pretty weak stuff but you could still get a buzz from it if you drank enough.

"Rooster" with his frat brothers

Before he lived in the fraternity house, Santorum lived in a dorm in the center of Penn State’s University Park campus. During his junior year, he roomed with John Koury. “We literally rolled kegs down the dormitory floor,” Koury recalled.

Their room became a party room. “On Fridays, when everyone got back from class, we’d go get a quarter-keg from the distributor,” Koury told HuffPost. “There’d be 20 or 30 of us in the room. We’d drink it and go down to the dining hall.”

Everybody called him “Rooster.” And Rooster liked to chug.

Moving on…. Yesterday must have been the day for wives to defend their husbands. Ann Romney gave an interview to Fox, and Karen Santorum defended her husband’s attitudes toward women for Tuesday’s CBS This Morning.

“They try to corner him and make it look like he doesn’t know anything else” other than conservative social values, Santorum told CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford in an interview for “CBS This Morning.” “As a wife, mother, an educated woman, it frustrates me that they try to do that.”

She said it’s “unfortunate” that the media tries to “corner” her husband on issues like contraception.

Maybe if he didn’t keep ranting about it all the time, they’d stop asking him about it.

“My husband is brilliant, he knows so much about — you know, like I said — national security, jobs, the economy,” she told Crawford. “You know, every aspect of this race, any issue out there, he’s brilliant.”

Yeah, right. If her husband is “brilliant,” he sure does a good job of hiding it. She also complained about many people’s reaction to the couple’s decision to take their dead 20-month fetus home to show their children.

“We brought Gabriel home from the hospital to have a funeral mass and to bury him. And so they twist it and make it sound like it was some crazy thing,” she said. “We brought him home from the hospital to introduce him to our kids and place him, it was for the funeral mass and the burial. And what is so sad to me Jan is that no one can tell me how to grieve, and I’m not going to tell anyone else how to grieve. It’s not right.”

Well she might not tell anyone how to grieve, but she and her husband seem to wants to tell the rest of us we can’t use birth control or have access to abortion and that women should home school their children instead of working for a living. The Santorums both have martyr complexes. IMO, they should quit whining, live their lives they way they want to, and leave the rest of us alone.

Good old Ron Paul made a bit of news yesterday when he said victims of the recent tornadoes shouldn’t get any federal help.

As Midwestern states face the aftermath of last week’s severe tornado outbreak, Ron Paul said victims of the storms should not look to the federal government for help.

The Texas Republican has often criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency, because, as he says, “they just get in the way.” He made this same argument Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley regarding the recent tornado-spawned devastation in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and several other states.

“To say that any accident that happens in the country, send in FEMA, send in the money, the government has all this money, it’s totally out of control and it’s not efficient,” he said.

Paul argued that the money FEMA spends for disaster relief is stolen from the states and tax payers and is ultimately wasteful.

What a nasty, mean old man! He’s building up some really bad karma.

I know I should have dug up some news about Newt Gingrich too, but I couldn’t find much. He’ll have a nice night in Georgia tonight I guess, and then probably will fade into the sunset.

Other than the primaries, the big story in the news is the conflict between Obama and Netanyahu over attacking Iran, which I find so depressing that I don’t even want to think about it. You can read about it at the link. And here’s a bonus. Mitt Romney has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post called “How I would check Iran’s nuclear ambition.”

So that’s it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today? And don’t forget to join us this evening as we discuss the results of the Super Tuesday contests!


Thursday Reads: Happy Animals, Dickish Theocrats, Jurassic Fleas, and ET’s

Good Morning!!

I thought I’d start out with something upbeat. How about some photos of happy animals? Buzzfeed has 26 of them. Here are some of my favorities:

How can you not smile at those? Check out the rest at Buzzfeed, and don’t miss the joyful anteater!

Now let’s get to the news. I thought Michigan was a winner-take-all state, but I guess not. The Santorum campaign claims the result was really a tie, because Willard and Rick the Dick will each get 15 delegates from Michigan.

While there has been no final determination of who won how many delegates in Michigan on Tuesday, current results suggest both candidates won seven of the state’s 14 congressional districts, each of which award two delegates to the winner. In addition, Santorum adviser John Brabender said the state’s two at-large delegates are likely to be split between Romney and Santorum because the vote was so close.

So I guess it’s winner-take-all by district? I don’t understand the GOP delegate system at all.

“It’s highly likely this is is going to end up being a tie, based on the data that we have,” Brabender said. “I don’t know how you look at that as anything besides this being a strong showing for Rick Santorum and anything short of a disaster for Mitt Romney.

“If we can do this well in Romney’s home state, this bodes well for Super Tuesday.”

Romney won the popular vote in the state by about 3 percentage points, according to the latest tally.

The final delegate totals haven’t been determined yet, according to the WaPo article.

According to numbers whiz Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics, Odds of a Brokered Convention Are Increasing

We’re finally close enough to Super Tuesday to get a sense of how the overall delegate count might work out in the GOP primary. The end result: Assuming that none of the four candidates drops out of the race, it looks increasingly as if no one will be able to claim a majority of the delegates. The candidate with the best chance is Mitt Romney, but he probably wouldn’t be able to wrap up the nomination until May or even June. The other candidates will probably have to hope for a brokered convention.

Trende lays out the Super Tuesday math state by state. Check it out at the above link. Can you believe Super Tuesday is less than a week away? I can’t decide if I should vote on the Dem or Repub ballot. I guess I’ll decide at the last minute. I don’t think Elizabeth Warren has any real competition, but I’ll need to find out for sure.

Ed Kilgore had an interesting post yesterday at Political Animal. Rick Santorum lost the Catholic vote to Romney in Michigan 44-37. I guess Rick has the Bishops but not the rank and file Catholics who like to plan their families. Kilgore:

Immediately there was speculation that Rick’s visceral dissing of JFK’s church-state relations speech might have contributed significantly to this result, or had perhaps cost him Michigan altogether.

That was my initial reaction, too, until I started wondering: why did we all assume Santorum had an advantage among Catholics in the first place? …. as I and others have amply documented, the idea that Catholics are more conservative than Americans generally, even on “social issues,” is pretty much a myth. But you had to figure that the kind of Catholics who choose to vote in Republican primaries are pretty significantly correlated with “traditionalists” like Rick, right?

That’s actually not so clear at all. The last contest with exit polling by the networks was Florida. There Santorum won 13% of the overall vote, but just 10% of Catholics; Mitt Romney ran a bit better among Catholics than he did overall. Now maybe you could say Florida’s heavily Latino Catholic vote is atypical. What about South Carolina? There Santorum won 17% of the overall vote, but just 15% of Catholics. Again, Romney performed a bit better among Catholics than among voters generally.

It doesn’t really surprise me. I wonder why Kilgore didn’t break down the gender numbers? I’ll bet Catholic women didn’t care for Santorum’s act.

The New Civil Rights Movement blog has more interesting details on which population groups voted for Rick the Dick and which ones preferred Willard.

Speaking of dickish theocrats, Darrell Issa may have topped Rick the Dick Tuesday at the latest War on Women hearing in the House. From the estimable Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches:

One of the strangest moments at yesterday’s very strange hearing on whether a regulation duly promulgated under a law passed by Congress was “executive overreach” and an infringement of religious freedom was when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Not Catholic) asked to have the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae entered into the Congressional Record.

His point, obviously, upon questioning the now-ubiquitous Bishop William Lori of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was to show the authoritative (or rather, authoritarian) roots of the Catholic opposition to “artificialqui” contraception.

There it is now, part of the Congressional Record! A document few Catholics follow, and which provoked dissent from (believe it or not) American bishops when Pope Paul VI issued it in 1968.

I’m really starting to tire of bishops testifying before Congressional hearings and now we have quotes from Papal Encyclicals in the Congressional Record?! WTF?

Via Think Progress, disgusting misogynist pig Rush Limbaugh opened his bit yap yesterday and

called Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown student whom House Republicans wouldn’t let testify at a contraception hearing last week, a “slut” and a “prostitute” today, because, Limbaugh argued, she’s having “so much sex” she needs other people to pay for it:

LIMBAUGH: What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.

You can hear the clip at Media Matters if you are so inclined. I decided not to listen.

Also at Think Progress, check out Alyssa Rosenberg’s Pop Culture Guide to the War on Women.

In science news, an article in Nature reveals that Dinosaurs had giant fleas–about an inch long!

Female (left) and male fleas from the Jurrassic Period

Primitive fleas were built to sup on dinosaur blood in the Jurassic period, more than 150 million years ago. The potential host–parasite relationship has been uncovered thanks to a set of beautifully preserved fossils found in China.

Today, the varied group of parasitic insects known as fleas frequently infests mammals, birds and thankfully we have products like Comforits amazon to remedy those woes. But little is known about their origins. The flea fossil record consists mainly of modern-looking species from the past 65 million years, and the identity of possible fleas from the Cretaceous period (145 million to 65 million years ago) has been debated by experts. But Michael Engel, a palaeoentomologist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and his colleagues have now extended the history of the parasites by at least 60 million years. Their work is published online today in Nature1.

Engel and his co-authors studied nine flea specimens from two sites: the 165-million-year-old Jurassic deposits in Daohugou and the 125-million-year-old Cretaceous strata at Huangbanjigou, both in China. The insects were not quite like fleas as we now know them. Whereas modern fleas range from 1 to 10 millimetres in length, the Jurassic and Cretaceous species were between 8 and 21 millimetres. “These were hefty insects as far as fleas are concerned,” says Engel.

If you’re more interested in futuristic science, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is going “live on the web.”

Announced at a technology conference in Los Angeles, the site Setilive.org will stream radio frequencies that are transmitted from the Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Allen Telescope Array in Northern California.

Participants in the project, being run by Jillian Tarter of the Seti Institute’s Center for Seti Research, will be asked to search for signs of unusual activity in the hope the human brain can find things automated systems might miss.

“There are frequencies that our automated signal detection systems now ignore, because there are too many signals there,” Tartar told BBC News.

I think just about anyone can volunteer to help sort out unusual frequencies from radio and TV signals.

Finally, Davy Jones of the artificially created ’60s group The Monkees died yesterday of a heart attack at 66. From TMZ:

An official from the medical examiner’s office for Martin County, Florida confirmed with TMZ they received a call from Martin Memorial Hospital informing them that Jones had passed away.

We’re told Davy suffered the heart attack at a ranch near his Florida home, where he was visiting his horses. Davy began experiencing distress while he was sitting in his car, and that’s where a ranch hand found him.

The ranch hand told Sheriff’s detectives … the singer began to complain that he was not feeling well and was having trouble breathing. Paramedics were called and Jones was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Authorities say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

Here’s one of the group’s classic bubblegum hits. RIP Davy Jones.

That’s it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?