Friday, December 02, 2016

From bad to worse for Democrats

Before we run down the Donkeys' latest self-inflicted wounds, let's review the newest plates and stemware in the Cabinet.

-- We've covered Beauregard, Mad Dog, Flynn, Pompeo, and Mnuchin already; some of the other appointees, like Nikki Haley, aren't really worthy of their own post (a fuller list of Trumpeteers, picked and rumored, is here).  The last big one, Secretary of State, is still being juggled by President-elect Barking Yam, with Mitt Romney, David Petraeus, and Rudy Giuliani starring as the bowling pins (although there is at least one more).  There's a poll you can take here, and Cypher Lewandowski, Trump's former mole at CNN, floated Jon Huntsman and refloated John Bolton.

-- As if Democrats weren't in deep enough shit of their own excretion as it is ...

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota, is paying a visit to Trump Tower on Friday, and Senator Chuck E. Schumer of New York, the incoming minority leader, is having heart palpitations.

“I appreciate the president-elect inviting me for a meeting. ... Whatever job I do, I hope to work with the president-elect and all of my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to best support my state.”

To Democrats, that last line can mean two things, neither of them good. If she is in line for an administration job, her Senate seat would turn Republican. If not, she seems to be indicating she is a possible vote for the Trump agenda.

And no matter what, her seat is up in 2018 — in a state that went to Trump with 62 percent of the vote.

... and ...

The decision by Gov. Jerry Brown of California to name Representative Xavier Becerra to be the state’s attorney general has set off another round of finger-pointing among Democrats — and opened a crucial post in the Trump era.

Becerra, like Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland before him and former Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois (now the mayor of Chicago) before them, had risen as far as he could in the House leadership. Becerra faced a blockade of older members of Congress, like Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Steny H. Hoyer, and James E. Clyburn, in the top ranks.

Unlike Van Hollen, who was elected to the Senate last month, Becerra opted against running for his state’s open Senate seat, but he has found his own way to statewide office.

Becerra was in line for a huge consolation prize in the House, however. The veteran Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan had just stepped aside as the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee — and he recommended the telegenic Californian for the post.

That would have put Becerra on the front lines as Trump tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut taxes, overhaul the tax code and possibly convert Medicare into a system that offers fixed sums to seniors to buy private health plans.

Instead, it looks as if that role will go to Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, who may be less camera ready but is actually better versed on the intricacies of tax policy.

This is the problem associated with re-electing Pelosi minority leader; there is a blockage that exists because the Old Guard won't give way to the Young Turks, and so ego fills another vacuum elsewhere.  That's no way to build a bench.

-- In another signal to progressives that they should just go away, there's a smear campaign being waged against Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, who is -- despite the puzzling and incorrect first sentence below -- in a real battle with Howard Dean for the right to chair the DNC.  Update (12/3): Dean's sudden pullout only makes the contest murkier.  Update II (12/4): Glenn Greenwald explains precisely how the smear makes the DC inside game so repugnant.

So far Representative Keith Ellison’s drive to be the next Democratic National Committee chairman has gone swimmingly, with no strong competition in sight.

But CNN went where other outlets have feared to tread, printing old writings of Mr. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in defense of the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam and other contentious black activists.


Ellison long ago renounced his associations with the Nation of Islam, and has had Jewish groups defend him. But the report could prove troublesome, to say the least.

The Anti-Defamation League, which has been mildly supportive, reacted strongly.

“Ellison’s remarks are both deeply disturbing and disqualifying. His words imply that U.S. foreign policy is based on religiously or national origin-based special interests rather than simply on America’s best interests. Additionally, whether intentional or not, his words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives, but that has no place in open societies like the U.S. These comments sharply contrast with the Democratic National Committee platform position, which states: ‘A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance and pluralism.’ ”

Shades of the over-reaction to Bernie Sanders' writing about rape.  This is a 'damned if they do or don't' conundrum with respect to Ellison's bid for chair: it will be "Muzlins eevil" all day and all night from the right if they pick him, and f'n Dean and his corporate lobbyist baggage killing them with whatever is left of the left base if they don't.  Perhaps there will be room for a consolidation candidate like SC Dem party chairman Jamie Harrison to break through, but we won't know for sure until next year, when the election is held.

Part of the liberal electorate's continuing angst has to be the slow realization that it is a tremendous waste of time to keep holding on with a decrepit political party that cannot figure out how to beat the sorriest lot of Republicans since Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Abu Gonzalez, etc., ad nauseum.  Future episodes of The Blame Game aren't going to improve this.

Remember all those people who said the GOP was imploding?  They must be miserable.

No comments: