Monday, July 8, 2019

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There Are Two Kinds of Wide World of News Readers

Those who spent part of their Sunday reading Maureen Dowd’s interview with Nancy Pelosi and those who did not.

My take: If you are in the second group, read the column now. It captures perfectly the Speaker’s views on the dominant things in her life: her grandchildren, the president, Mitch McConnell, chocolate, and the divisions within the House caucus. 

The only thing that was missing was what she thinks of Joe Biden, which, after the grandchildren and chocolate, might end up being the most consequential matter she faces in the next year.

However, the most important immediate implication of Pelosi’s remarks can be found in this Washington Post article by Bob Costa, in which he captures the pointed return of fire at Pelosi from the world of Representatives Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Pressley (and their allies), who feel slighted, yet again, by the Speaker’s apparent dismissal of their influence and importance.

The Costa article is every bit as important to read as the original Dowd column. Together, they are a master class in the current divisions within not just the House caucus but within the party as a whole.

Unlike a lot of fights between politicians, this is not a disagreement based on power or personality.  It is not really even about policy exactly, either.

And, unbelievably enough, it isn’t even primarily about how Capitol Hill Democrats should conduct themselves in the Era of Trump.

What this conflict between the Speaker and the four outspoken and press savvy members of her caucus is about is this: is working within the system to accomplish as many progressive goals as possible the right way to go, or has that been tried and failed and Democrats need to accept nothing short of the revolution many of their constituents in their dark-Blue districts are demanding?

To state the obvious (that is what Monday mornings are for…), that debate is playing out on the presidential campaign stage as well.

Neither side is going to back down anytime soon.

There is an argument to be made that all this energized debate is good for the Democratic Party’s chances of beating Donald Trump. 

If you are a Democrat, however, making that argument requires having the optimism of someone who strolls down the carny confident they can effortlessly toss a ring around the neck of a glass Coke bottle.

Did Biden’s Weekend Apology Over Segregationist Remarks Succeed?

Decision to say he was sorry reflects concern inside his campaign about holding onto his African-American support, especially in South Carolina.

My take: We don’t know whether the gambit defused the situation, as evidenced by two separate person-on-the-street quotes in twodifferent, side-by-side Washington Post stories:

“’I don’t buy all the negativity about his past because all I’ve seen him do is work for the common good,’ said Virginia King, a 63-year-old Charleston resident who attended Biden’s town hall on Sunday.”


“’The fact that he’s still tone-deaf in 2019, and he served with a black man for eight years . . . it’s offensive,’ said Coretta Graham, a former prosecutor from Corpus Christi, Tex., who chairs the local Democratic Party there. ‘If you’ve been with someone that long, you ought to know. . . . To me, that means you weren’t paying attention.’”

For now, the biggest newspaper in South Carolina breaks the tie:

The State: Why black Joe Biden supporters in SC remain loyal, despite his record on race.

Internet Waits for Epstein Case to Intersect With Political World

Monday court appearance and unsealing of indictment could expand case beyond wealthy and powerful convicted sex offender.

My take: Of all the speculation on social media and the web, this tweet from DNC member Christine Pelosi (daughter of the Speaker) is getting the most attention:

This Epstein case is horrific and the young women deserve justice. It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may – whether on Republicans or Democrats. #WeSaidEnough #MeToo

Let’s all allow the fevered speculation to give way to what federal prosecutors say Monday. Then we can recalibrate.

It will be interesting to learn what drove the feds in New York to seek to fix the injustice which occurred in the original prosecution of Epstein, in which his victims’ rights were blatantly violated.

Trump Justice Department Changes Lawyers on Census Case

Move comes as administration looks for a way to get citizenship question back on the form after adverse court rulings.

My take: It seems clear, per this Washington Post story, that President Trump is determined to win on this one, either via litigation or executive action.  Career DOJ lawyers, expert opinion, and media coverage are 95% against him here. Which doesn’t mean he will give up anytime soon.  But it also doesn’t mean Trump will win.  As of now, he is most likely to go down fighting.

“Don’t Forget Health Care”

Washington Post has essential read on federal court case that could put Republican efforts to invalidate ObamaCare back front and center.

My take: Right now, this is the one issue most likely to cause a public fissure between the White House and other Republican candidates in 2020.

In Other News

Iran’s announcement that it is breaching previous limits on uranium enrichment is a bigger deal than the president’s unhappiness with Fox News, including its weekend anchors (for unspecified sins).

Report: Tom Steyer to enter Democratic nomination battle.

Do not underestimate the implications of Steyer becoming the only candidate with the capacity to self-fund his effort. Super Tuesday is expensive.

ICYMI: ABC News/Washington Post poll shows higher Trump approval rating and a path to victory, but still many issue problems at the moment.

Interesting, but still relatively meaningless for both sides until there is a Democratic nominee.  Trump’s numbers are good enough to win and bad enough to lose!

Top sports story: USWNT fans chant for equal pay after another World Cup Final win

Top business story: Deutsche Bank looks to cut 20% of staff in major overhaul

Top entertainment story: ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ opens with a record-setting $185 million Independence Day stretch

Big Four


Iowa, Nevada to launch caucus voting by phone for 2020.


Do Latino voters really care if the 2020 candidates speak Spanish?

South Carolina

Harris accepts Biden’s apology in SC over segregationist comment that stirred up 2020 race.

Why SC is likely stuck with a stockpile of the nation’s most dangerous nuclear materials.

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