Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Bernie performed well last night, but that's totally beside the point

Following up on the previous post on the Arizona Eagletarian, Bernie Sanders demonstrated that he's doing well... for now.

He was feisty, and energetic. By the way, he did NOT attack Liz Warren. Mostly everyone else did, however.

But Bernie's biggest challenge last night was to address the so-called elephant in the room. Namely, his age and his cardiovascular health.

In the ONE question he faced (and yes, I watched THREE hours of debate last night, OMG, how did I endure that?) he threw out two shiny objects and did NOT at all address concerns about his long-term health.

When asked about it by CNN anchor Erin Burnett, the first thing Bernie did was to launch into a response to a previous question. He said he'd get to Burnett's question after answering the other question.

But when he did get around to the health question, phrased as -- how will you reassure Democratic primary voters -- about the ongoing heart attack ramifications, his answer, awkwardly, had nothing to do with his health. Instead, he said he would have a rally in Queens with a special guest. That's it. No follow up. No clarification.

After the show ended, it came out that the special guest will be Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. A short time later, reports came that The Squad (AOC, along with fellow freshman Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar) would be endorsing Bernie for president.

Okay then. That will surely assuage fears and concerns in millions of voters' minds, right? A man who (hypothetically) will turn 80 before his first year as president, who had a heart attack while campaigning 14 months before the November 2020 general election.

Bernie has multitudes of devoted supporters. If they could keep him healthy, of course they would. But can they?

Bernie's not the first one to crusade for the Political Revolution. Twenty-eight years ago, Minnesota voters elected Paul Wellstone to the US Senate. Wellstone served well and courageously advocated for Progressive policies. Until his tragic death in 2002.

The Minnesota Senator's campaign may even have been the template that AOC followed to win her election to Congress.

I will not now tell you what Bernie will decide to do. I only will say that it's apparent that voters are thinking about it. The New York Times last week published this report, excerpted below.
Mr. Sanders is certainly not the first candidate whose presidential campaign was disrupted by a medical emergency. In 1999, former Senator Bill Bradley made an unexpected visit to a hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area for atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm abnormality, which he did not disclose until after the incident. After canceling a few events, Mr. Bradley, now 76, resumed his campaign, but he eventually dropped out of the race after losing the New Hampshire primary. A poll of New Hampshire voters revealed concern about how he had handled the disclosure of his health issue.
Still, Mr. Sanders’s case is unusual in many respects: He is a leading candidate recovering from a heart attack at age 78 who must compete in an intensely competitive primary while also holding down a demanding job as senator. Indeed, Mr. Sanders’s disruption comes amid increased pressure to bolster voter support with strong challenges from Mr. Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren, and it is unclear at what pace Mr. Sanders will carry on his campaign.
“Bernie will be scrutinized very carefully in the next month or two for his ability to come back and campaign as vigorously as he has done in the 2016 and current presidential campaigns,” said Ed Rollins, a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan. “He’ll be looked at a little differently” for things like being tired at the end of the day or stumbling in his delivery onstage, Mr. Rollins added.
But he apparently will not be looked at differently by his diehard supporters.

Which leads into my next concern. Patricia Murphy, who has covered national politics for the Daily Beast, yesterday published on Rollcall about the recent Senate Intelligence Report on the Russian attack against the sovereignty of American voters in the 2016 presidential election.
Using techniques the KGB tried on Soviet citizens during the Cold War, the committee described the hallmarks of the Russian disinformation campaign in 2016, including messages to erode Americans’ trust in investigative and political journalists; an emphasis on speed to win the first impression of readers, which is always the most resilient; topics designed to exploit racial divisions; and a volume so enormous that overwhelmed audiences can no longer discern what’s real from what’s not. Finally, almost all of the information was deceptive, or as one committee witness called it, a “firehose of falsehood.”
I'm concerned that the strident tone of Sanders' supporters means they are already primed to repeat the cycle we saw in 2016. Ms. Murphy called the Senate Intel Report the most important document you will ever read.

I hope Bernie reads it and considers the ramifications among his strident supporters.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

As much of a hero as Bernie is, he will not be elected president in 2020

A day or so ago, Bernie Sanders experimented with rhetoric widely interpreted to mean that he intends to distinguish himself as NOT equivalent to Elizabeth Warren.

An article I read noted this quote by Bernie,
"Elizabeth considers herself -- if I got the quote correctly -- to be a capitalist to her bones," he said. "I don't. And the reason I am not is because I will not tolerate for one second the kind of greed and corruption and income and wealth inequality and so much suffering that is going on in this country today, which is unnecessary."
Long time readers of the Arizona Eagletarian will know that I advocated vociferously in the 2016 election for Senator Sanders (that may be a bit of an understatement).

Let me now make this clear. I believe the phrase "if I got the quote correctly" is a stark (or maybe subtle) declaration that Sanders is hedging on this particular tactic.

Why might he do that? Well, I can only speculate. 1) His advisers may have insisted he try to put some daylight between him and Warren; or 2) He may not be convinced it's the right thing for him to do.

Further, as much as he may still have a deep driving desire to become president, he just is not now and not ever going to be elected to that office. He's 78-years old. Now. By November 2020, he will be working on completing his 80th year of life (age 79).

Bernie Sanders recently had a heart attack.

While YOU might still want to vote for him, so many people will no longer do so that he's going to have to come to grips with the reality of his situation sooner or later. Preferably sooner, and BEFORE he might sabotage Warren's chances.

Now, about Warren being a capitalist.

In 2003, she, together with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, published first edition of the book, The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers & Fathers are Going Broke. Here's the dedication from the first edition (which I borrowed from my local public library):
This book is dedicated to all parents who
wake up with hearts thudding over the possibility
that buying school shoes and Girl Scout uniforms
will mean that there won't be enough left over to
pay the mortgage. These people are our neighbors,
our brothers and sisters, our friends and coworkers.
They travel anonymously among us, but we know them.
They went to college, had kids, bought a home, played
by the rules--and lost. It is time to rewrite the rules
so that these families are winners again.
Bernie Sanders' effort to disparage Elizabeth Warren in the minds of die hard Berners... well, the kindest way I can characterize it is that he tried to make a distinction but there really isn't a difference.

This effort 1) does not rehabilitate Bernie's cardiovascular system; 2) going back to Bernie's quote at the top of this post, what on Earth in her consistent message during the campaign -- or any time prior -- could possibly be reasonably interpreted to mean that Warren will at all "tolerate for one second the kind of greed and corruption and income and wealth inequality and so much suffering that is going on in this country today, which is unnecessary;" and 3) does not do him or the Political Revolution the slightest bit of good.

If anything, Bernie's ham-handed statement suggests the time for him to suspend his campaign is coming sooner rather than later.

From April 2017.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

How will Mitch McConnell respond to House approved Articles of Impeachment?

Former Obama Administration Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal interviewed by Ari Melber:

From YouTube:
A new House subpoena for Rudy Giuliani could be ‘the scariest news’ for Trump in a potential impeachment trial, because he may have to tell all and not be protected by attorney-client privilege, explains former DOJ official Neal Katyal. “There isn't going to be an effective privilege,” Katyal says, analyzing why not only Giuliani, but other lawyers allegedly involved in Trump’s plan against Biden, may all have to testify. MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber and Katyal discuss why lawyers are less protected from testifying when they are asked about things they didn’t do in their capacity as lawyers, discussing the hypothetical of a lawyer doing a side job for Uber or task rabbit. Aired on 09/30/19.
Katyal surmised in this clip that McConnell may be distancing himself from Trump, based on the Senate Majority Leader's statements (included in the clip).