Tag: Politics

This I Believe

| November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

I believe the Russians tipped the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump.  I didn’t, at first.  But the more we know about the massive intervention they conducted through social media and the Wikileaks dump, the more obvious it is that it was sufficient to turn 80,000 votes spread over three states to give Trump the electoral college win.  I also believe the Comey letter tipped the election to Donald Trump.  And I believe that the fact that the Democrats nominated the quintessential establishment candidate in an anti-establishment election tipped the election.  And, yes, I believe the Clinton campaign strategy, which neglected Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin in the closing days of the election, gave it to Trump.

It is possible to believe all these things at the same time.  Flip any one of those variables and the Democrats win.  In a close election, everything matters.  However, only one of those variables has consequences for the future, the Russians intervention.  Frankly, I suspect that the Russians did not set out to elect Donald Trump, but rather to simply disrupt American democracy and weaken President Hillary Clinton.  They may have been as surprised as the rest of us the day after the election.  There were reports of celebrations in Moscow, but events since then may have tempered their euphoria.  Some in the Kremlin may wonder whether they overshot.  It’s nice to have a puppet, but maybe an incompetent puppet is more trouble than he’s worth.

But here’s the thing.  Whether the Russian ultimately conclude they overshot in their election meddling is up to us.  Will we, as a nation, respond in a way that will deny the Russians what, at this point, seems like the greatest intelligence triumph in human history, actually electing the President of the United States?  The answer to that question is in the hands of Special Counsel Bob Mueller and the Republican leadership of the Congress.  Mueller needs to build a rock-solid case that denies the Republicans the ability to rationalize away the reality of the Trump collusion in the Russian meddling.  And the Republicans will need to stop protecting Trump and take affirmative steps to impose accountability into the system.

So far, Mueller is doing his part.  The Republicans? Not so much.

Obamacare Rises from the Politically Deadly

| May 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

I’ve been thinking, and occasionally saying, that Obamacare will be a net benefit for Democrats in the midterm election.  There is a growing chorus of speculation among the chattering class about this and they are saying it better than I could.

I particularly like Greg Sargent’s view in the context of the Arkansas race pitting Senator Mark Pryor against Rep. Tom Cotton.

And by the way, Cotton isn’t the only high profile GOP Senate candidate pulling a homina homina homina on his state’s Medicaid expansion. So is Scott Brown. And Thom Tillis’ gyrations on Obamacare repeal are similarly absurd. So clearly, this isn’t the uniform slam dunk issue Republicans claim it is. The scrutiny is entirely on how Democrats are handling Obamacare. But some attention should be paid to how Republicans handle the pitfalls of repeal going forward. Time to take another look at the conventional wisdom here.

Things could get very interesting in the Fall.



The Passing of an Era

| October 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

Speaker Tom Foley

Former House Minority Leader, Bob Michel, had a very touching remembrance of former Speaker Tom Foley in today’s Washington Post. He starts the piece with this incident:

Try as he might, Speaker Tom Foley could not gavel the House to order. It was Nov. 29, 1994, the last day of the 103rd Congress. I had just offered a resolution honoring him, and the speaker was being given a standing ovation for his 30 years of service. Our fellow members would not sit or quiet down.

It was a fitting tribute to a great public servant who assumed the mantle of leadership in the House at a difficult time.

Tom had just been defeated for reelection, and I was retiring. In an unprecedented gesture of goodwill and comity, Tom invited me to assume the chair on the speaker’s podium while he gave his farewell address. For the first time in 40 years, a Republican presided over the House, if only for a few minutes.

I was there. I was chief of staff to Rep. Steny Hoyer, then Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, and I was on the House floor to witness it. I remember it vividly, particular the gesture of Foley inviting Michel to hold the gavel and sit in the Speaker’s chair. Michel was clearly stunned. There wasn’t a dry eye in the House. He sat on the edge of the seat like a kid who knows he’s not supposed to be sitting in a grownup’s chair. It was enormously touching. Continue Reading