You gotta love that it came from the Russian Foreign Minister:

A reporter asked whether the firing of Comey “cast a shadow” over the talks.

“Was he fired?” Lavrov said in response. “You are kidding, you are kidding.”

I’m sure it sounded even better in the original Russian.

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This was entirely predictable. Indeed, over the past decade we’ve seen plenty of signs that Republicans cannot be our partners in maintaining a democracy, from voter suppression to the dynamiting of norms to the backing of a wholly unfit individual to be president. I’ve seen lots of verbiage out there to the effect that this is a moment of clarity for Republicans but it really isn’t, it’s a moment of clarity for Democrats. I don’t expect it to be the final one, but when this finally does dawn on them, there are really only two options: either create a blueprint for returning to power with the intent of ruthlessly destroying the conservative movement, or start planning for the creation of a new democratic polity that doesn’t include them (i.e. a breakup of the United States). The latter promises to be awful: complicated, expensive and messy, but it’s almost impossible for me to imagine the former being conducted by a party that has long been built on cooperation and bipartisanship at nearly any cost. (I don’t really think that simply winning back control over the government is an ultimate fix either, though that is the short-term strategy: it does nothing to fix the ultimate problem, which is the Republican Party, which would likely win back a chamber or two of Congress during the next Dem president’s tenure and escalate the obstruction and norm-breaking tactics it previously employed.) Again, this is some ways off. But I don’t see any real alternative, and if anyone has any bright ideas, I’m open to them.

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Lev filed this under: ,  

My earlier post was a bit of a final fuck you to a man who I’ve long pegged as a self-righteous narcissist, James Comey. Obviously the news that Trump was looking for reasons for the past week to fire Comey puts it in a different light. I think some of the shrieking overestimates the level to which Comey could be trusted to bring through the investigation into Trump and Russia and I’m not inclined to give him the benefit of any doubt–recall his behavior over Hillary was all about being able to preserve his good Republican card–but ultimately the firing was really not about Comey himself. This must be acknowledged. Whether it was Trumpian panic generally or over something specific we will find out soon enough.

It would be interesting if some Repubs came loose from this but my guess is not many, and if anything Trumpians would love it if the RINOs and Democrats were aligned together against them. I see no reason to presume they have any propensity for putting the country over party and ideology when none has been in evidence so far. I’d like to be proven wrong, but I still believe it’s nuts to hope that Republicans will save us.

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Lev filed this under: , ,  

Comey’s been fired. I can’t imagine anyone’s going to be too broken up for his sake. Obviously in retrospect Obama’s biggest mistake, and almost certainly the last time a Democrat puts a Republican in charge of anything meaningful. (If he didn’t want a liberal running the FBI, why not name fresh-out-of-a-job Ben Nelson? He was just as qualified.) That Comey’s final act was bumbling testimony related to EMAILZGATE is sort of perfect.

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Lev filed this under:  

I had quite an odd home appraisal experience today.

The appraiser was a nice enough guy.  He was jawing about Obamacare being too expensive and then mentioned some kind of Christian health cooperative he belongs to that had lower “premiums” and covers much the same stuff as normal health insurance.

But, get this, he said they wouldn’t pay a dime toward anything pregnancy-related if the woman got pregnant out of wedlock.

Words fail.

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It is a bit silly for pro-choicers to turn the nomination of a pro-life Democrat for mayor of a medium-sized city into some sort of epic showdown over the soul of the Democratic Party on choice, for the main reason that mayors don’t really have that much to do with abortion policy. At senator/governor level, of course, it’s a different story, though also dependent on circumstances. The Democrats’ one enduring mistake here IMO was running Bob Casey against Rick Santorum in 2006, which was a race that any Democrat could have won, and we’ll have to live with that (at least Casey seems to be ok other than on that issue, if not much of a force).

It is, however, more than a little silly to assume that there is a huge number of votes up for victory if Democrats run pro-lifers in swingier states, which is where most of these arguments seem to go. Again, Bob Casey’s re-election performance in 2012 was as good a test case as any as it gives you a baseline on how a pro-life Dem vs. a pro-choice Dem do with the same electorate, and Casey won a whole 1.6% more of the electorate than Obama did (about 35k votes out of over 5m). Admittedly, that’s caveated all to hell, different candidate strengths at the two levels, presidential coattails and all that, plus Casey had a brand because of his father that might have been responsible for some former steel workers in Beaver County to vote for him. But that wouldn’t even have made up the gap in 2016!

In conclusion, until I’m presented with a much stronger argument, I don’t see any reason to think there is an opportunity here to get a bunch of sociocons on board with Sandersian economics, but it doesn’t make sense to resort to dealbreakers either. By all means, it makes sense to run pro-lifers in states where it’s impossible to win any other way! It’s better for Dems to have John Bel Edwards running Louisiana than David Vitter, and Republicans undoubtedly would rather have a pro-choice Republican like Charlie Baker running Massachusetts than Martha Coakley (or a nominal pro-lifer like Chris Christie running New Jersey over John Corzine). I get the sense that what the Sandersian lefties really want is to not have to have the abortion banner over them as they argue over economics, but nevertheless it is there and it’s not going away.

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Lev filed this under: ,  

What fool wrote this:

Yeah, the AHCA polls at 17% for now, but that’ll go up after FOX (and the MSM) gets going with how this is a great victory for Trump against the liberals and that dastardly Obama (last part only for FOX viewers). Sure, it’s not going to move it anywhere close to 50%, but a bit over 30% is pretty plausible. Within a few days that’s probably about where Trump’s approvals will be as well, but after the vote most Republicans will get on board. Just watch.

And today a poll comes in: it’s 31%!

Really, predicting this is no special accomplishment. Elections are unpredictable. Republican behavior, with a decent amount of observation, really isn’t.

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Lev filed this under: , ,  

Too many posts yesterday. Happy weekend!

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