Saturday, June 13, 2020

Thinking In Time About Biden's Short List

A leak attributed to presumptive 2020 Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden (D-DE) revealed that six names had made the initial cut to be considered Vice Presidential running mates.  This list seems to adhere to Mr. Biden’s promise to pick a woman.  The list includes Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Obama National Security Advisor and ex UN Ambassador Susan Rice, two term Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL 10th), first term New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-Atlanta).  

Notably, several persons who seem to have been campaigning to be Joe Biden’s right hand woman were absent.  Failed 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who had been openly speculating about her chances was not on the list.  Minnesota Senator Amy! Klobachar (D-MN) did not make the cut, despite the fact the she withdrew from the Democrat primaries quickly after placing third in New Hampshire thereby  clearing the way for Biden’s first Presidential primary win (ever) in South Carolina.  Also absent is freshman Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmar (D-MI), who made a name for herself in aggressively implementing a continued COVID-19 lockdown in the Great Lake State.   Surprisingly, Michelle Obama’s name was not teased on this list, even though candidate Biden has used nearly every opportunity to associate himself with the Obama legacy. And Hillary Clinton’s name was no-where to be found on this leaked list.

Naturally, Biden Campaign spokesman Andrew Bates, dismissed the speculation by cryptically saying: “Those who talk don’t know and those who know don’t talk”.  That may be true, as sometimes prospective nominees use the time between clinching the nomination and the convention to keep in the news as they supposedly vet candidates, but then they make an unexpected choice.  This campaign tactic garners earned media during a traditionally lean campaign funding time-period between the primaries and the general election.  Moreover it has the added bonus of recognizing inter-party influencers to unite the party and generate enthusiasm. 

(L) Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY 9th) and ex VP Walter Mondale (D-MN)
Take the parade of VEEPstakes candidates that 1984 Democrat nominee Walter Mondale interviewed for the job.  Mondale claimed that he wanted a running mate who could advise the President nationally, could act as an international envoy and who could help pass legislation on Capitol Hill.   Mondale was open to having a female VP, so he seriously considered Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins (D-KY), then San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and ultimately his choice Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY 9th), who was known for working for equality for women while representing a conservative Democrat district where Archie Bunker from “All in the Family” would have lived.

While Mr. Mondale offered high minded criteria in selecting a Vice Presidential running mate, there are often more base political concerns, encapsulated in the probing question “What does (s)he bring to the ticket?   Almost always, a campaign wants the selection to lock a state in the victory column.  Preferably an important swing state.  This might explain the major motivations that Hillary Clinton (D-NY) chose Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) to clinch Virginia in 2016.

A second quality that Presidential nominees usually seek in their VEEPstakes choice is the notion of balance.   In 1960, then Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy (D-MA) balanced his East Coast ticket by picking then Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson (D-TX).   In 1988, Governor Michael Dukakis (D-MA) chose Senator Lloyd Benson (D-TX).  This can be North/South or Coastal/Midwest (or more derisively-- “fly over country”).

That balance need not be geographical or electoral.  In 2000, then Governor George W. Bush (R-TX) chose former Wyoming Congressman Dick Cheney (R-WY) as his running mate.  Republicans rule Wyoming and it is only three electoral college votes, so clinching a swing state is not the answer.  Well, at the time, “W” was considered to be an intellectual lightweight and a Washington outsider.  Cheney, who had acted as President Ford’s Chief of Staff and President George Herbert Walker Bush’s Defense Secretary, quelled media concerns for “gravitas”, as well as selecting a rock rib Republican who had loyalty to the Bush family.   Opting for an experienced but loyal insider may well have been the motivation for then freshman Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) choosing 36 year senate veteran Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) in 1988.    

There are some instances in which the VEEPstakes is driven by reinforcing a value.  Take for example when then Governor Bill Clinton (D-AR) selected Senator Al Gore, Jr. (D-TN).  Both were baby boomers from mid South states, neither being signficant swing states or big electoral college values.  But they could be contrasted as a new era for politics, particularly contrasted with the last World War II President (Bush “41").  They also could be marketed as “New Democrats”.

(L) Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and (R) Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) made a surprise choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) in 2008.  McCain fancied himself as a maverick who campaign would fight for you.  He chose a had a reputation for fighting corruption among her own party and offered inroads with the religious right.  It did not hurt that she provided an attractive generational balance for an aged Vietnam War veteran. This might have been a second choice for McCain, as he pined to pick his friend Senator Joe Liberman (D/I-CN) but this choice was allegedly rebuffed by GOP conservatives.

By thinking in time, it might shed some light into Biden’s Veepstakes. Aside from insinuating that his running mate must be female, candidate Biden has espoused:
"One, that they are younger than I am. No, I'm not being facetious, and number two that they are ready on Day One to be President of the United States of America."   

So Biden recognizes that he is older and needs to have a second who is ready to step in. 

(L) ex VP Joe Biden (D-DE) and (R) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
If we take Biden’s statements about age and sex seriously, it is odd that Elizabeth Warren tops the leaked list.  Warren is almost 71 years old, so technically she’s younger than the top of the ticket but not a generational difference. However, based on many recent media appearences, Warren seems more mentally with it than Biden. Warren placed in third in her home state primary, so it’s hard to say she’d lock Massachusetts, and the Bay State is hardly a swing state. The ticket would not be geographically balanced.  Warren’s credentials as a “Native American” Harvard professor, bankruptcy lawyer and legislator does not lend credence to being a public administrator ready to step in.   Arguably, Warren’s name being circulated appeals to her supporters, is an attempted olive branch to Bernie Bros due to her socialist leaning campaign and might lead to party unity.

At the start of the 2020 Democrat primary campaign, Kamala Harris was considered to be in the top tier of candidates, as she was a youthful minority candidate from the largest electoral college vote state.  An 2007 iteration of Joe Biden, might crib his praise of Barack Obama unto Kamala as a storybook candidate <<who is an African American candidate articulate and bright, clean and good looking.>> Maybe not today.  

(L) Ex VP Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Kamala Harris (R-CA) at Detroit debate
During the Democrat Presidential Detroit Debate of 2019, Kamala Harris came out of the box to insinuate that her Joe Biden, her fellow candidate for the Democrat Presidential nomination, was unintentionally a racist for being against school busing in the 1970s, which benefited her as a little girl. Yet this blatant play of the race card did not win her support among the predominantly African American Democrat electorate in South Carolina, which Biden easily carried (with the strong support of House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC 6th).  Wonder why there is a disconnect between identity politics and Harris.  Consider the progressive paradigm of intersectionality.  While Harris is a Person of Color (sic), progressive voters have perseverated on the fact that Harris was perceived as being on the wrong side of history when she was California Attorney General as she was strong on punishment for minority malfeasors and that she punished cannabis criminals while privately enjoyed smoking it. 

Although Vice Presidential running mates are often encourage to be attack dogs for the top of the ticket, when she wasn’t spouting attacks planned in advance, Harris had a wooden stump style.  There is some evidence that Harris was associating herself with the Jesse Smollett controversy for political gain, but that did was not successful in being a positive lime light to dominate African American attitudes. 

Long time Democrat operative James Carville opined that personal chemistry may color Biden’s choice of a running mate.  When the cameras are away, it is hard to imagine that Harris would pass Biden’s smell test after accusing him of essentially being a racist.  Biden himself has asserted that his running mate must be intellectually simpatico.  Again, Harris does not seem to fit the bill. 

Although Biden easily carried the predominantly African American electorate voting in the South Carolina Democrat primary, with the strong support of House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC 6th), Biden may have to bolster his black base after his bone headed blunder with  the Breakfast Club’s “Charlamagne the God” when he said: “If you don’t vote for me, you ain’t black”. 

It is hard to see how Harris could achieve that end.

(L) Sen. Amy Klobachar endorsing Joe Biden (R)
An ideal balance of identity politics, geography and loyalty would have been Biden’s 2020 competition Senator Amy! Klobachar (D-MN).  She is a woman, from a Midwest swing state and did Biden a big favor by dropping out when she did. Alas events and experience got in the way.  The George Floyd sparked riots in Minneapolis highlighted the fact that Klobachar was a Minnesota Attorney General who gave the bad cop a pass for brutality in 2006.  Oops.  Klobachar’s husband’s live was saved from Covid-19 by doses of hydroxocloroquine, which was championed by President Trump (to much ridicule by the mainstream media).

Rep. Val Demings (D-FL 10th) at Trump impeachment
Another quasi prominent African American woman in the news is Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL 10th).  Her background includes being a Police Chief in Orlando. She rose to prominence as being one of the eight House Impeachment Managers for the failed Senate trial of President Donald Trump.  Aside from that, the second term Representative has no legislative achievements, and her time leading the Orlando police force is marred by unresolved excessive police brutality problems.  While Florida is a swing state with significant amount of electoral votes, it is difficult to think that her presence on the ticket clinches the victory.  In a short time span, she would have to be marketed as a minority icon, in a nation that twice elected a black President.

Two names that were on the list that seemed to be sop to identity politics are Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.  Both seem to be considered because of their identity rather than their experience as Administrators. Viscerally, it is hard to think that Bottoms would clinch Georgia.  Lujan Grisham might be enough to lock up the Land of Enchantment with its whopping five electoral votes.  But realistically, this would be more of a play to keep Hispanic votes in the Democrat camp.

The leaked name that is most intriguing is Susan Rice. Granted Rice has never held elective office (though she dreamed of being the first Senator from the District of Columbia) and DC’s three electoral votes are safely Democratic. So it’s not clinching a state or geographical balance that makes Democrat Rice (not to be confused with Condeleeza) interesting in Biden’s VEEPstakes. 

(L) ex VP Joe Biden (D-DE) and Susan Rice 
 Susan Rice is 27 years younger than the top of the ticket, has experience as UN Ambassador and being National Security Advisor, so she is “younger” and can be pitched as ready to step into the job when Biden can no longer do so.  But it is her connection to the inner circle of the Obama Administration and loyalty that makes it remarkable.  Susan Rice was the Obama Administration official that went on all five network public affairs shows immediately after the Bengazi fiasco in 2012 to spout the Administration line.  Susan Rice was part of the inner circle that has been implicated in the unmaskings of Trump campaign (and transition) staff.  So she worked with Biden, showed loyalty to Barack and doesn’t mind being the front person in contentious situations.   Along with identity politics, the Obama association, the loyalty and willness to be a pit bull, Susan Rice would be an interesting choice for Biden, albeit with some significant prospective liabilities. Besides, she has no office to lose and may earn a lucrative gig on MSNBC if things go south.

We can not be certain if the delayed 2020 Democrat National Convention will be held in Milwaukee, much less if Joe Biden will still be at the top of the ticket, so speculation on a Vice Presidential pick is a pre-mature parlor game.  Maybe Biden has binders of women which just haven't come to the forefront yet. But for political junkies anxious to not have to think about Antifa insurrection and COVID-19 contagiousness, it is a good exercise to keep regular order in shape.  Besides, it might give those of us who care about politics insight on evaluating Biden’s final answer. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A Diamond Analogy for the Flynn Judicial Fiasco

Attorney Sidney Powell, the replacement defense counsel for General Michael Flynn, filed an artful petition to the DC US Court of Appeals for a Writ of Mandamus to facilitate the withdrawal of a wrongfully compelled guilty plea and to replace the trial judge who made serious legal errors and displayed bias towards the defendant.

Attorney Powell made an effective case on the law, but she was also adept at analogizing her argument for the general public. 

;[L] Sidney Powell, [R] General Michael Flynn
If this petition is accepted, defendant Flynn will have an ardent advocate to pursue a case against his prior counsel from Covington and Burling (where Eric Holder, who was President Obama's first Attorney General and "wingman", is a partner) for inadequate counsel.  Moreover, considering all of the documents which acting DNI Richard Grenell declassified, Flynn may have a strong case for malicious prosecution. 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Warren Buffet on Fear and Investing

The  New York Stock Exchange dropped 7% at the start of trading over continued fears over coronovirus, combined with investors reacting to a glut of crude oil causing benchmark prices to tank.

At the District of Calamity, there is more confidence in political prognostication rather than inklings on investments or immunology. However, with some cognitive (rather than social) distancing, this is not the bubonic plague and America's health system is not medieval medicine.  Moreover, media seems to be pushing a crisis, presumably for ratings and as another avenue to imperil the current Administration.

Thus it is prudent to take into account the wisdom of Warren Buffet, the Wizard of Omaha, on fear and investing.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Frederick Douglas on Politics

Frederick Douglass

If only contemporary audiences could really hear the wisdom of "Liberty's Champion":

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Abraham Lincoln on Freedom

Sifting Through the Rubble from the Granite State Primary

Pundits expected the Democrat New Hampshire primary to be an easy win for Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT). After all, Sanders had name recognition being a Senator from a neighboring state as well as his resounding victory in the 2016 Presidential primaries.  

Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) after New Hampshire primary
So Sanders triumph in the 2020 New Hampshire primary was not a great surprise. What was remarkable, however, was the narrow margin of victory and muted percentage of support. When Sanders ran essentially against First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY), he racked up 60% support and beat her by 22%. While there was a more crowded field in Election 2020, Sanders only won 25.9% compared to ex Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend) 25.4%.  This flips the placement in the closely contested (and thoroughly botched) 2020 Iowa Caucuses.  

What seems significant is the degradation of support for Sanders in New Hampshire, despite his inherent advantages.  For the moment, Buttigeig is the principle competition for Sanders.  But the campaign is shifting to the Nevada Caucus on February 22, which “Mayor Pete” may not have the organization to capitalize. For the South Carolina Primary on February 29, Buttigieg seems to have difficulty attracting support from African American voters, which comprise two thirds of Palmetto State Democrat voters.

Sanders is an avowed Socialist, which is anathematic to admit for Establishment Democrats who want to win in November. Considering the malarkey (sic) in the Iowa Caucus tabulation as well as manipulating the debate rules, there seems to be a behind the scenes effort to mute “The Bern”’s momentum to allow for an alternative who the Establishment deems more electable.  

Ordinarily, the second place finisher would be the designated competition, but Mayor Pete seems weak in other early primaries. In this cycle, billionaire ex Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-I-D-NYC) opted to skip the February primaries to vigorously compete in the twelve primaries on Super Tuesday March 3. Thus, “Mitey Mike” (sic) might play the white knight and steal an easy nomination from Bernie Sanders.

Another interesting nugget from the Granite State Primary was the third place finish by Senator Amy Klobachar (D-MN) with 19.8%.  Klobachar garnered more than double Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) support, which was surprising as Warren was a neighboring state pol and she expended considerable resources in New Hampshire.   Warren is on the far left of the Democrat political spectrum, but it does not appear that Warren voters did not gravitate to her ideological comrade Sanders.

Klobachar seems to have been aided by a stand out debate performance in the New Hampshire debate.  Moreover Klobachar won some attention the prior week when she was the first to declare victory (despite placing 5th) in the Iowa Caucuses.  Perhaps Klobachar won some support from voters concluding that she is the viable female candidate. It is a safe assumption that Klobachar prospered with the collapse of the Warren and ex Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) campaigns. 

Andrew Yang dropped out after earning 3.3% support in New Hampshire, as well as Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO) with 0.3% of the vote. Ex Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) is expected to drop out after a 0.4% performance.

Joe Biden left New Hampshire early to kick off his South Carolina campaign, as he sensed the impending doom. In the end, former frontrunner Joe Biden placed fifth in New Hampshire with 8.4%.  Paired with his fourth place finish in Iowa, it is almost certain that Biden is the walking dead in the primary process, as it will be difficult to raise more funds with such pathetic early showings. It is dubious if Quid Pro Quo Joe could beat Mickey Mouse.

News coverage of the primary process loves to focus on who won the horse race and not the delegate count. Granted, the delegate stakes are paltry in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the process matters.  As long as there is a competitive three person race, the more likely it is for there to be a brokered Democrat convention, as no candidate has a clear majority. If it seems as if Sanders is cheated out of the nomination (again), James O’Keefe's exposes with Project Veritas exposed the violent sentiments of Bernie bros working on the campaign, it could be a hot time in Milwaukee in July.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Friday, February 7, 2020

Mayor Pete on Backyard Bullying

Preying on Fake Prayer

At the 2020 National Prayer Breakfast, President Donald Trump railed against politicians who hide behind false piety in proffering their politics. 

Pelosi's purportedly prayful approach to impeachment has not conveyed a sense of sincerely, as evidenced by a skit from Saturday Night Live.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

No Malarkey from Joe Biden?

Apparently, former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) is not totally detached from reality as he offered a no malarkey assessment of his campaign's performance in the 2020 Iowa Caucuses.  With less than 70% of the vote tallied after two days, Biden is running in 4th place with 15.9% support.  On the bright side, Biden (barely) qualifies for delegates.  But on the dark side, he might place fifth behind Senator Amy Klobachar (D-MN).

Iowa is not about delegates, as only 41 were available from the Iowa Caucuses.  It is about gaining momentum at the start of the Presidential Primary campaign.  Conventional wisdom is that there are three tickets out of Iowa, and it looks like Lunch Bucket Joe got a gut punch rather than his ticket punched.  Granted,  Biden did not pour all of his resources into organizing in the Hawkeye State, like Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, IN) or Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).  But a former Vice President, who the media kept touting as the national front runner,  being an also ran is devasting.

Some have suspected that the Democrat Establishment have been obliquely seeking to help Biden, because the prospect of nominating socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) scares the bejesus out of them.  Thus, the delayed submission of the Articles of Impeachment curiously required that sitting Senators (Sanders, Warren, Klobachar, Bennett) could not be out on the Hawkeye hustings when the Senate was trying President Trump.   Moreover, the prolonged odd delay in reporting results from the Iowa Caucuses (which has been attributed to software output issues) both steals the thunder from winning candidates like Buttigieg and Sanders, thus taking away momentum from Iowa and it obscures the gut punch of a fourth place finish for Biden. 

Political junkies know that Biden planned on having a South Carolina strategy, as he expects to garner giant support from the largely black electorate who would give fealty to Barack Obama's number two.   The problem is that he has to make it to the end of February.  When a candidate, like Biden, is competing as a front runner, it burns cash. If Biden has another disappointing result in New Hampshire, the money dries up and the staff starts to bolt. 

The Establishment's chosen candidate has been floored by a Hawkeye gut punch and they feel they need to slow the Sanders juggernaut lest he becomes the inevitable nominee.  So they need someone to last until the March 3rd Super Tuesday primaries, when ex Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R, I, D) can buy them some time and victories before the Milwaukee convention in July.

And THAT'S no malarkey.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Talking Trash About DC's Green Police

For Super Bowl XLIV, Audi made a splash with its advertisement during the Super Bowl “The Green Police” which spoof’s Cheap Trick’s 1979 hit song “Dream Police” by fusing it lyrics and images of  overzealous Eco-Cops.

After the defeat of “Cap and Trade” legislation in the United States Senate and the revelations about scientists skewing global warming data in Climate-gate, the public could chuckle at this green cacotopia while considering the virtues of clean diesel cars.

Unfortunately, Audi did not prepare a parody but a prognostication. In the District of Columbia, a Dupont Circle resident is being barraged with fines from DC’s Department of Public Works for not recycling. It seems that Patricia White shreds her junk mail and newspapers to use as cat litter. In fact, she is being quite green since colored print matter is considered not recyclable.

 But much like the “Green Police” Audi ad, the DPW inspector admitted to digging through her trash cans to fine these violations. The city and the courts have enforced fines totalling $2,000.  Perhaps she should put these soiled papers into recycling and let the city sort it out.

At home I am nicknamed a “Recycling Nazi” for trying to get all the cans and bottles into the recycling bins. But I recognize the relative futility of the exercise. Washington mandates that all offices in the city have recycling bins for paper.  I have worked late at many offices and seen these blue bins dumped into the rest of the “basura” (trash), even though they are clearly labeled-even in Spanish.   I have also been to the city dump where I have seen the recycling trucks deposit their collections with the rest of the refuse.

The DC government used the plastic bag ban as a tool to expand its power and financial base while clothing it in environmentalism.  The 5-cent a disposable plastic bag fee was supposed to stem the tide of trash in the Anacostia River.  But then Mayor Adrian Fenty quickly diverted the proceeds from these mandatory fees assessed by business on consumers to non-environmental concerns.  After the first year of operation, the DC government realized the program for people bringing their own bags had been so successful that the DC Council looked to impose other taxes to supplement this shortfall. This was not a job for Captain Planet.

Improvements in the city are stifled by the city government concocting suspect environmental excuses to slow progress.  Philanthropists are seeking to convert an abandoned school into housing for homeless veterans. The charity was able to raise enough funds but their efforts are waylaid by city officials citing sustainable growth citing that there would not be enough parking spaces for these homeless vets.

These episode about municipal obsession about recycling illustrates several points.  The DPW inspector seems like an obsessive go-getter who is vying for promotion.  Allowing governments to expand by raising taxes funds such nonsense. In the end, seeing how recycling is more honored in the breach than the observance makes the recycling law more like feel good nanny-state law.  

No wonder this place earns the nickname “The District of Calamity”

[This piece originally ran on DCBarroco]

Monday, February 3, 2020

Tulsi Gabbard on the DNC

As Democrat voters begin the 2020 Election Cycle, it seems that establishment Democrats are putting their thumbs on the scale to try to shape the outcome.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is outraged that the DNC and CNN are not allowing her on stage for the New Hampshire debate, despite garnering 8% support, while they are letting former Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) onstage as he only has 2% support.

The DNC seems worried that Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist- NH) may well sweep the first few primaries, which would make him the odds on favorite to win the Presidential nomination.  So the DNC changed the rules for qualifying for future debates, ignoring the grass roots element of qualifications.  

That rules change allows billionaire candidate ex NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to participate.  That becomes crucial as Bloomberg is banking on a strong Super Tuesday showing on Tuesday March 3rd and the fact that he can self finance his campaign.  

Mazie Hirono on Due Process and Impeachment

Friday, January 31, 2020

Lisa Murkowski on Impeachment

During the Impeachment Trial, House Managers have vociferously argued for the need of more witnesses to try to convict President Trump.  Democrats had hoped to gain the support of four maverick liberal Republican Senators to take control of the Impeachment process to continue to search for the silver bullet that would compel removal of the President.

With that dynamic in mind, it is curious how Democrats have conducted themselves during the Impeachment Trial.  On the opening day, when deliberations went past 2 a.m., House Managers asserted that their rushed Impeachment put the Senate on trial along with the President.  Perhaps they should have consulted Dale Carnagie on "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

As House Managers closed their arguments, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th) implied that President Trump told wavering Republicans that if they voted incorrectly then their heads would be put on pikes.  That charge was so outrageous that Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who was one of the supposed persuadable Republicans, exclaimed: "That's not true."

During the Question Time, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is currently running for President, submits a query which drew Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts into the political fray, wondering if this contributes to the public's lack of confidence in the system.  

Aside from Chief Justice Roberts death stare, one wonders what the Democrats were thinking?

 Maybe Warren gets her name in the news for a "tough question" before the crucial Iowa Caucuses.  However, this veiled attack further politicizes the process.  And it was aimed at Chief Justice Roberts, who had twice helped Democrats out by not allowing Senator Rand Paul's (R-KY) incisive question about the so called "Whistle Blower".

Further fallout from attacking Senator Lisa Murkowski's vote on witnesses.  The question was going to be a close vote.  But Murkowski was so offended by this tactic of sullying the Chief Justice that they lost her support, dooming the call for witnesses. 

While conservative commentators are wont to think that Democrats had weak Articles Impeachment which were rushed through the House, the way Democrats comported themselves during the trial, they seemed like they just wanted political wedge issues rather than trying to remove the Chief Executive. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"President Bolton" Gets a Nasty Gram Via Social Media

Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton has been the focus of question day at the Impeachment Trial. Democrats have claimed that Bolton must testify, but they never bothered to subpoena his testimony before the House voted to impeach the 45th President.

After the first day of the Trump Defense team presenting their case before the Senate, there was a convenient 11th hour leak from Bolton's political kiss and tell memoirs, which were being vetted by the NSC ethic office for classified clearance.  The leak of the salient snippets from Bolton coincidentally broke on the first day of pre-sales for Bolton's book, which is due to be released in March.

John Bolton had earned a sobriquet of "President Bolton" due to his penchant for autonomy, did nothing to quell the controversy, particularly since it shed favorable light from an establishment who often railed against him.  Moreover, the calls for him to testify probably boosted book sales.

President Trump, who is renowned for punching back and using social media to express his animus, seems to have gotten fed up with his former advisor and sent him a nasty gram via Twitter. 

On the Boons and Banes of Choreographed News

Some political junkies who sought answers during the Impeachment Trial question time got frustrated on social media because the first day of question time seemed so choreographed, particularly by Democrats.  Impeachment Manager Jerry Nadler (D-NY 10th) clearly was reading note cards when answering the supposedly spontaneous questions.  There were many instances in which Impeachment Managers had graphic readily available to buttress their arguments.

This situation is a reminder to savvy civic observers that many political events are choreographed.  

Astute impeachment observers have noted how the lessons of the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation appear to be echoed by those seeking to remove President Donald Trump from office.  For a controversial hearing, anonymous allegations are made during the process, there is a call for additional witnesses without much vetting and organized protests on Capitol Hill.  Coverage by the mainstream media is skewed that one party is hiding something and won't allow the truth to come out.  

One presumes this is intended to create a groundswell to quash the target.  People who don't prioritize following the news can be led down a primrose path to progressive conclusions.

This might lead one to believe that choreographed news is always objectionable.  Populist supporters of President Trump might deride it as "Fake News". However, there are instances when it can be quite satisfying and iconic.

On January 31, 2020, The United Kingdom will finally be leaving the European Union, (a.k.a Brexit) upholding the wishes of British voters as expressed in a referendum in 2016.  Nigel Farange is a Member of the European Parliament who was the vanguard of Brexit.  Mr. Farange gave his final remarks speech before the European Parliament, in which he gave a barn burner speech reveling in Brexit and shaking off membership in the European Union.

As part of his schtick, Farange led the British contingent to wave the Union Jack flag and walk out of the chamber in Brussels.   This not so fond farewell was certainly pre-planned and coordinated.  Farange's views were not novel, but his choreographed send off was iconic. 


Friday, January 10, 2020

Pelosi's Procedural Ploys on Impeachment

The Democrat led House of Representatives broke light speed records in order to vote to impeach President Donald Trump before Christmas.  Yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA12th) has refused to name impeachment managers and send the Impeachment Resolution to the Senate. Inquiring minds seek to know why.

As the final impeachment vote was taken on December 18th, 2019, perhaps Pelosi hoped that it would dominate holiday conversations while the House was adjourned. This tactic did not achieve the tsunami of support for removing President Trump.  In fact, polling show that Mr. Trump increased his favorability ratings.  After the vote was taken, it was difficult for the mainstream media to keep up the clamor about impeachment, especially as it is procedurally stalled. 

Officially, Pelosi has proffered the rationale that she was withholding the Articles of Impeachment from a Senate to ensure a fair trial.  This is laughable considering how the Democrat majority ignored its own precedents on impeachment, ditched due process and achieved passage on a partisan nearly party line vote, with Democrat Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbord (D-HI 2nd) voting present and three House Democrats voting “nay”, including Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ 2nd) who switched parties after the vote.

Pelosi reportedly got the idea to stall sending the Impeachment Resolution to the Senate based upon a suggestion from Nixon White House counsel and MSNBC contributor John Dean. This may be a ruse to allow the leftist firebrands of the party to claim victory for getting Mr. Trump impeached without going through the formality of a trial which is destined to fail as it can not achieve 67 votes.  Or it may have been a delay tactic to try to tack on more articles of impeachment to accompany the rather weak tea “Obstruction of Congress” and “Abuse of Power” allegations.  However, the taking down of Iranian terror leader Solemani did not lead to an undeclared war, so that charge was for naught.

Surely the Speaker’s staff knows that having an outsider dictate how the Senate will take up an impeachment trial is unconstitutional. Article I Section 3 Clause 6 of the Constitution stipulates that:  “The Senate has to sole Power to try all Impeachments”.  

Of course, constitutional considerations might not prevent some grandstanding in a power play over the Christmas holidays.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had pencilled in a light legislative schedule for January 2020 in anticipation of an impeachment trial.  With Speaker Pelosi’s incalcitrance on sending the Senate the Articles of Impeachment, Leader McConnell proposed that the Senate might well take up the Impeachment even if the House fails to name Impeachment Managers, which would effectively dismiss the charges.  This move prompted Ms. Pelosi to indicate that she may take steps to move the resolution forward next week.

The reasons for holding the Articles of Impeachment from the Senate might been more political.  Former South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy suggested on Fox News that holding the Impeachment into the primary season might have caused tough votes for vulnerable Republican freshman Senators Martha Mc Sally (R-AZ) Corey Gardiner (R-CO) and Joni Ernst (R-IA).  That may be true but the politics may well have been more intermural. 

Democrats are engaged in an uncertain Presidential primary process with no clear leader before the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary.  Several leading candidates (and a few also rans still in the race) are still in the Senate.  Impeachment trial rules require all Senate participants to attend all of the trial in order to vote, which effectively would take Senators Sanders (Socialist/Democrat-VT), Warren (D-MA), Klobachar (D-MN) and Booker (D-NJ) off of the campaign trial or reveal them as slackers of the current elective office.  Had the Articles of Impeachment been immediately been sent to the Senate in December, it is likely that it would have impeded the January 14th debate, which is the last debate before the Iowa Caucuses. 

Democrat Impeachment backers have argued for an expanded trial, which would include public witnesses which go beyond the nearly non-existent fact witnesses during the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th) Show and House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY 10th) proceedings.  But if the witness list is opened up to President Trump’s defense, former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-DE) and his controversial son Hunter Biden may be compelled to testify, which could be messy and take a favorite of establishment Washington Democrats off the hustings and into the fire of tough invigilation.

Presuming that Pelosi is being procedurally political and tipping the scale to favor the only establishment candidate who consistently has a chance to beat President Trump,  it would be prudent for the Speaker to prompt a floor vote on Thursday January 16th and then adjourn for the Martin Luther King Holiday (oh, that’s right, District Work Sessions) and it would not be picked up until January 28th.  Even if House Judiciary Chair Nadler worked expeditiously in sending things to the Senate, it might not be received until the eve of the Iowa Caucus.  

That sort of scheduling would require Senators to be present in Washington and not canvass in the final days of the New Hampshire primary, which would give Joe Biden and South Bend “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg a leg up on the competition during opening arguments which may last about a week.    The next week is the South Carolina primary where (if polling is accurate), Biden has a commanding lead and Mayor Pete is quite weak.  That might give Biden the mojo to become the front runner. 

While it is highly unlikely that the Senate will muster the 2/3rds Super-majority to remove President Trump, the case may not be dismissed in a summary judgment like vote after opening argument.  In the even that Biden is requested to testify by the Senate, he may be able to stall until after Super Tuesday March 3rd, when he would either be the odds on favorite or an oddball also ran.

So Pelosi’s slow roll of advancing the Articles of Impeachment presumably are political but may well be partisan in inter-Democrat politics along with trying to take the Senate back into Democrat hands in the 117th Congress.