Home / General / Is Our Democrats Learning?

Is Our Democrats Learning?

Comments
/
/
/
1023 Views

C25g-NMUUAEzWlF.jpg_large

With the exception of Kirsten Gillibrand, evidently not. She is the only senator to vote against all three of Trump’s cabinet appointments. Yesterday, 15 Senate Democrats voted to confirm Mike Pompeo, a noted pro-torture Islamphobe. This is pathetic. Why? Why would Chuck Schumer vote for Pompeo? Why would Sheldon Whitehouse do this, of all people? What does anyone get out of this? Do they legitimately think these are good choices? Do they think that this will mean Republicans will take Democratic voices seriously? No, of course not. It’s that even Schumer doesn’t understand the rules of the game, even after 8 years of fireeating extremism.

On the other hand, Gillibrand is running for president in 2020 and she is going to have an excellent message for Democratic primary voters: “I voted against every single person Donald Trump nominated for his Cabinet.” And that’s a pretty compelling message. That no one else seems to understand what is going to play in 2018 and 2020 is more than a little dispiriting. But hey, I’m sure a few Democratic votes for Betsy DeVos and Tom Price will totally get Manchin and Heitkamp legit home state cred!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • pillsy

    Yeah, that Whitehouse vote really jumped out at me. What the fuck?

    • humanoid.panda

      Schatz too, as well some other names (Hassan, Kaine, Reed). My guess is that they are going with the “does he meet minimal standards of competency” standard. Which is woefully inadequte.

      • VCarlson

        I wrote an email to Schatz in response, telling him I expect votes on the merits, which will look remarkably like the GOP’s past 8 years. Also no concessions, especially in exchange for future GOP/Trump concessions, as their track record of “suckers!!!” is so bad (not the words I used. I also sucked it up and said “Mr. Trump.”). For good measure, I sent a thank you to Hirono with the same body, and the body of the message to my House rep.

        • NorthernInvader

          I will never use the correct honorific for the orange baboon who is as yet not a registered sex offender. At best he’ll get BLOTUS (biggest liar of the US.) He brings no respect to your highest office and deserves none in return. Besides he hasn’t released his long form birth certificate proving he was born in the US and not Moscow, and even if he does it’s sure to be #fake :)

          • ΧΤΠΔ

            I’ve settled for (at best) only referring to him by given name and calling his occupancy The Tapeworm.

            • so-in-so

              I like “the current occupier of the White House”.

              Given how much he likes his name, it should never be used.

              • ΧΤΠΔ

                He likes his surname; HRC’s use of only his first name seems to have rattled him during the debates.

            • Some of my favourite names for him are Tangerine Torquemada; Orange Julius Caesar; Hair Furore; Herr Gropenführer; Kim Jong Orange; Idiot Amin; the tiny-fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon; and, of course, the short-fingered vulgarian. I’m also fine calling him the president-asterisk, but he certainly doesn’t deserve the actual respect of the office.

              • ΧΤΠΔ

                Short-eyed vulgarian” is arguably a better fit.

                • Procopius

                  I like “short-eyed” because I think most people, at least middle-class (Trump’s supporters) do not know what it means in prison. Same like with “punk.” A class of NCO’s was being addressed by a young lieutenant who was trying to butter us up. “I used to be a punk,” he said. We were shocked until we realized he didn’t know what the word meant.

              • so-in-so

                I liked your earlier “Cheeto Benito”.

                Am I a bad person for wistfully eyeing gas station overhangs as I pass them?

                • Oh, yeah, I neglected to mention that one. I didn’t invent it, though. I stole it from someone somewhere; probably here, on BJ, or on Wonkette.

              • I feel that Torquemada should be reserved for Pence

                • ΧΤΠΔ

                  You can still fit in Torquemada if your epithet for Pence involves Rev. Stryker or an X-Men villain in some capacity. Or you can just change “Torquemada” for “Trujillo.”

                • Pence should definitely be referred to as the Human Supremacist. The resemblance to Stryker is uncanny.

                • so-in-so

                  Torquemada has too much gravitas for this administration.

                  Maybe Pompeo.

                • ΧΤΠΔ

                  But Pence has nothing resembling redeeming qualities. Remember, even Claremont explicitly said Stryker was supposed to be otherwise a “good person.”

          • Abbey Bartlet

            PPOTUS. Phony President of the US.

            I may have written a song to go with it.

    • Origami Isopod

      Are they thinking they only have so much capital with which to block Trump nominations, and they have to pick and choose? I don’t know if this is true or false, myself, I’m just wondering.

      • humanoid.panda

        They can’t block any Trump nominations without the filibuster, so I think that, in their minds at least, they are trying to separate acceptable from non-acceptable nominees.

    • I think the Democratic leadership has a codependency problem with regards to the Republicans. The Republicans are addicted to fucking everyone over, and the Democrats feel obligated to support them doing it.

      • joel hanes

        Ah, good-faith Dem efforts at bipartisanship we have with us always.

        The Republicans use bipartisanship as a date-rape drug, and have done so with great success for fifteen years.
        Yet within the Beltway, “bipartisanship” is still seen as an unalloyed good, good in itself without reference to outcome.

        • NorthernInvader

          Well of course it is – all those beltway pundits and reporters are all Republicans and DINOs

        • ColBatGuano

          Their addiction to the Beltway consensus after the last 16 years is inexplicable.

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      Not to mention beloved-of-lefties Amy Klobuchar.

    • los

      Safeseat Dems don’t need to keep their powder dry. Use it.

  • To be fair, it took the caucus many years to come around to the whole, “we have to abolish the filibuster if Obama’s going to get any nominees confirmed at all” thing. This isn’t new news.

    [[Deleted the rest of this comment once I realized the roll call admirably disproved my argument]]

    Shit sucks. Fuck everything.

  • ΧΤΠΔ

    Not sure how much stock you take in this, but Adam Silverman suggested last night that this was done in a state of panic.

    • Panic about what? I’ve been reading through that thread, and I can’t really tell what they’d have to be panicked about… :/

    • eclare

      I think he was referring to the Senate’s investigation into Russian interference, not to this vote.

      • Hob

        Right – that conversation was not about Pompeo.

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        D’oh; misread.

  • On the bright side, I’m sure this vote has assured all these senators will be on Trump’s good side now, and he’ll listen to what they say and won’t shoot them in the head in April.

  • Rob in CT

    Eyeballing the Obama-era, 33/48 (no votes/didn’t vote) actually seems like more opposition than the GOP put up to Obama’s nominees, with a couple of exceptions (Loretta Lynch, for example). Now, obviously, Obama’s nominees were actually qualified to do their jobs. So you’d want/expect more opposition from Dems to Trump’s appointees.

    So on the one hand, I agree with you: not 1 vote. I think that’s the right move morally & politically. Also, this business where the GOP threatens the Dems with nuking the filibuster unless they behave is ridiculous. They’re gonna nuke it anyway the first time the Dems don’t do what they want. Fuck it, force the GOP’s hand.

    On the other hand, our Democrats do appear to be learning, just slowly. Not good enough, but the trend is there IMO. We need to keep pushing them.

  • timb

    I love Erik, but, for once, I’ll disagree. Presidents get to pick their Cabinet. In the absence of law-breaking, the Senate should confirm them. Governance must go on.

    Before anyone says, “the GOP would do it!” I don’t care; I’m better than they are. We are better than they are. Government needs to function. The incompetent domestic ones will be fired or resign by this Fall. Working with the Trumps is gonna be hard

    • Hercules Mulligan

      Pompeo supports mass surveillance and torture. Does that count as lawbreaking?

      • timb

        After the Bush administration, I think we can say that it does not. Nonetheless, he hasn’t tortured anyone

    • Greg

      That’s an argument for Ryan Zinke or James Mattis or Elaine Chao or even Tom Price, but every other nominee is some combination of absurdly unqualified or corrupt.

      • LeeEsq

        Vote to confirm regular Republican evil but not a bad guy out of a Hollywood summer blockbuster or bad TV movie.

        • humanoid.panda

          Right. And I think Pompeo is just on the line between regular evil republican and movie villain.

      • humanoid.panda

        I’d qualify this. I think that there are 3 points at which you vote against a candidate
        Inadequacy
        Corruption
        Being morally unacceptable (Sessions is not personally corrupt, and surely has the credentials and no Democrat should vote for him).

        I think a whole bunch of Senators who worked with Pompeo think that he passes the third test. From my POV that’s blatantly wrong.

        • pillsy

          As frustrating as it is, I think this is one area where the Beltway culture is really out of step with the party base (no matter how you slice up “base”). There’s just so much more willingness to accept security state bullshit and immorality.

          • LeeEsq

            Its nearly impossible for a politician to run against the security state or argue that it should be toned down because if one things go wrong, voters will hold their ass on the line. Very few politicians and really none who can get elected want to be the one that leads to a reduction of security and than have something bad happen.

            There are elements of the Democratic Party base that would really like a reduction in the security state, mass incarceration, and a renewed focus on civil liberties. Not every active Democratic base member is part of this faction. There are people in the Republican base like this to but again, they aren’t a majority. Most regular but non-base voters of both parties tend to be fine or even supportive of security state measures because security is popular. Very few people want to risk their lives in favor of what they see as an abstract value.

            • humanoid.panda

              Notably, Rand Paul voted against Pompeo. But would he have if the Dems could actually block it?

              • rm

                Even though Rand Paul does the right things (very occassionally) for the wrong reasons, in this environment that is better than nothing. I’m gonna keep contacting him when it looks like his flakiness might lead him to get mavericky.

              • LeeEsq

                Rand Paul has some ideas that he really believes in, so I’d guess yes.

            • Rugosa

              Very few politicians and really none who can get elected want to be the one that leads to a reduction of security and than have something bad happen.

              But didn’t the Republicans do just that when they cut funding for embassy security and then blamed Hillary for Benghazi? The Dems should remember things like that and keep their hands clean.

              • LeeEsq

                Embassy security is technically part of the security state but I’m thinking more in line with domestic things like TSA.

            • pillsy

              I think that’s part of it.

              I think another part of it is that they personally know a lot of people who work at the higher levels of the national security apparatus, and think of them as peers, colleagues, and even friends. They transfer the personal trust to the agencies they run.

              It’s another manifestation of the Village.

              • LeeEsq

                That seems likely.

      • Joe_JP

        Matthis seems like the easiest to defend. Kelly … what is the case against him?

        • pillsy

          My problem with Mattis is less anything about him, and more that they waived a requirement to ensure civilian control of the military at the same time the WH seems to be deciding to let the DoD pursue one foreign policy while the President pursues another.

          This is not a recipe for good things. But neither letting another Trumpkin chucklefuck run the show would be awful, too.

        • rewenzo

          I strongly suspect the only reason Matthis is Trump’s nominee is that his nickname is “Mad Dog,” and Trump was disappointed when he found out the guy is largely sane and sober.

          So I don’t think this situation calls for a waiver of the general rule against members of the military being put in charge of the military.

        • efgoldman

          Kelly … what is the case against him?

          He turned from a really competent leader of MI analysis into an Islamophobe, which badly colors his outlook and analysis.

    • SatanicPanic

      If the choice is dysfunction at the federal level, or functioning fascist government, I’ll take the former.

      • Hogan

        We’re in a place where it’s hard to tell what would produce worse governance: no appointment or a Trump appointment.

        • West of the Cascades

          Certainly a Trump appointment – the department will continue to function under an acting director who is probably a career officer actually committed to the agency functioning as designed.

      • timb

        That’s a false choice and typical of the fainting, swooning, and breathless panic which has occurred here since the election. Trump will be a failure. He’s an incompetent idiot with low approval ratings. The things he wants from government he cannot get. The things he wants from Congress, he (mostly) cannot get.

        Oh, and I’ll remind you all of this come 1/20/20, when the Republicans go “Dems wouldn’t approve any of our nominees, so we won’t yours, because ______ is a fascist Communist” (they won’t be any smarter).

        • SatanicPanic

          Republicans just blocked a very sensible Supreme Court appointment for nearly a year. Was that Democrats’ fault?

          • solidcitizen

            If the Democrats would have the decency to be Republicans, then the blocking would not have been necessary. So, yes?

        • rm

          But they’ve been doing that since 2010.

    • twointimeofwar

      Before anyone says, “the GOP would do it!” I don’t care; I’m better than they are. We are better than they are.

      This is why you don’t vote for the pro-torture guy.

      • timb

        Torture is against the law. Who the fck do you think Trump and Pence will nominate to head the most disgusting institution in America?

        • Aaron Morrow

          Comey.

        • (((Malaclypse)))

          Torture is against the law.

          I’m sure enforcing that will be Sessions’ top priority, right after he gets through making sure no cop stands trial for killing a black man, and purging voter rolls.

        • so-in-so

          It was when Bush the Lesser took office too, signed by none other than Saint Ronald himself.

          Then Loo signed off on “these things we want to do aren’t really torture, so go for it!”

    • Tracy Lightcap

      This.

      I don’t like Pompeo one bit; I’ve written and edited two books on torture and his expressions on the practice while he was in Congress were abhorrent. However, as timb says, presidents get to pick their cabinets, snow birds and all. It’s hard to say that Pompeo is less qualified to run the CIA then, say, Leon Panetta was; at least he’s served time on the intelligence panels in Congress. Further, CIA has renounced “enhanced interrogation” as a matter of official policy.

      Now, with those people official policy and actual behavior are two different things and with someone like Pompeo at Director there might be backsliding. But that’s on Trump’s head and well it should be. (I hope no one thinks this will stay quiet if it happens.) I can understand why there were some Democratic votes for him as a consequence.

      The real tests will be the votes on Sessions, Carson, DeVoy, Price, and those clowns Trump nominated for Treasury and Commerce. None of those nominees should get a single vote, especially Sessions.

      • Joe_JP

        presidents get to pick their cabinets, snow birds and all

        and the Senate gets to vote for or against them, especially the minority party doing so in dissent … and this is what you said in the end, which runs against what timb said (not all “clowns” that are not lawbreakers, I gather)

        ETA: As to what the CIA declared as policy, why wouldn’t the policy change, just as policy changed over recent administrations?

        • so-in-so

          Right, Saint Ronnie the Dim, beloved of all Republicans, said “Americans do not torture” before signing the treaty. Bush II squared that by declaring anything we did wasn’t really torture.

          • Tracy Lightcap

            And he had OLC opinions and his AG behind him saying he was right. We don’t need to worry about presidents lying about this; it almost always gets out when they do. We need to worry about them trying to informally legalize torture. We’ll have to watch that carefully.

        • Tracy Lightcap

          There’s a difference between voting down nominees because they are either a) not willing to enforce the law as it stands (Sessions) or b) obviously incompetent for the responsibilities they will assume (the rest).

          Say what you will about Pompeo (btw, the Great One is probably turning in his tomb like a lathe over this), he isn’t obviously incompetent. The president should get all the rope he needs to hang himself with such nominees. Leave the solid opposition to the others.

    • RonC

      The only argument is whether or not you win or lose. Being a nicer kind of loser doesn’t get it. They need to start building a record now or not I guess. Gee, I wonder why the democrats control a majority of nothing right at this point.

      • timb

        Your way leads to Latin American gridlock and results int eh destruction of the Republic. The government must function or people will find a way to make it. Mobs in the street, Caesar conquering Gaul, the Army parking a tank on the Capitol grounds. The loss of norms means something. Right now, it separates us from being Honduras, as Linz pointed out 25 years ago

        • Scott P.

          Yes. “The only thing that matters is power” is the authoritarian playbook in a nutshell. It’s unconscionable in a free society.

          • so-in-so

            And characterized six of the last eight years, and the rest of our foreseeable future. When do we get our “good guy” hats?

    • Joe_JP

      Government needs to function.

      How does most Democrats, without filibustering (since they can’t), voting against Pompeo stop the government from functioning? And, “law-breaking” is a rather low bar here.

      Why Dems should vote for a total incompetent like Ben Carson for HUD is unclear to me even if I don’t think he will break laws. And, a response seems to suggest they have to already done it or the laws had to be consistently enforced even on the level of torture.

      This is a step beyond good government.

    • Bloix

      Presidents get to pick Supreme Court justices, too.
      Look, we are in the midst of a slow-motion coup. Stop trying to tell yourself that this like anything you have ever seen before in your lives.

    • witlesschum

      Nope, not for Trump. He shouldn’t get a single Democratic vote for anything. Not a bridge, not a cabinet secretary, not the Pentagon budget, not anything.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Presidents get to pick their Cabinet. In the absence of law-breaking, the Senate should confirm them.

      I’m pretty sure some laws were broken to get him where he is. Or do we not actually have “No collaborating with foreign governments to throw elections” on the books?

    • los

      Government needs to function.

      oligarchs and dictators have a different vision of “governance” than we do.

  • Slothrop2

    Is our liberal commentators learning yet?

    • Is our Republican trolls fucking themselves with chainsaws yet?

    • econoclast

      Dude, part of the reason people think you are so stupid is that we’re perfectly aware who we’re dealing with. If you were coaching the Seahawks, you’d take one look at their shitty offensive line, and announce “okay, we’re going to play beach volleyball instead.”

      • Slothrop2

        No you didn’t. As far as I know, it was only Paul Campos who sort of figured it out pretty early on. Now it’s “let them govern.” This is how brain-dead liberals have become.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Awww… is the widdle conversation in your head going well for you? Bless your heart.

          • Slothrop2

            At least I avoid existential torture bewildering myself that many Democrats will persistently find a way to work with constitutional vandals. After all, most of the Democratic leadership could care less about the fourth amendment or Social Security. There will be all kinds of aiding and abetting.

            • timb

              No, there won’t be. There is no incentive. The Dems just beat the GOP to an infrastructure plan, which will be rejected, freeing them to oppose that too.

              You lose

              • Slothrop2

                Actually, no. Of course, Chuck Schumer will become the resurrection of Hugo Chavez as he safely knows that nothing he proposes will ever succeed.

                I love Schumer’s comments about the “billionaire bankers.” I laughed until I cried.

                • los

                  I love Schumer’s comments about the “billionaire bankers.”[1] I laughed until I cried.

                  yet trump gained some[2] votes by claiming to be “anti-establishment”.
                  Some voters know that other voters will forever be gullible.
                  The former class of voter must apply the tactical implication when handling the latter class of voters.

                  _______
                  1. OMG Hillary’s “Goldman-Sachs speeches” differed from her rally speeches!
                  If only Hillary had managed to persuade the Koch brothers to pay for pro-democracy activism, as the Clinton Foundation persuaded “gay-throwing” Saudis to fund African Medical services.

                  2. untrue only if all of the altcucks were non-voting putinbots.

        • econoclast

          What the fuck are you talking about?

    • Learning what?
      What kind of commentator are you?

  • MDrew

    Disappointed in Klobuchar, whom I love, but I’m willing to listen to an explanation.

    • humanoid.panda

      What I got from the Democratic Senators re: Pompeo is that they think he will protect the IC from politicization, based on their work with him in various committees. I am skeptical, to say the least.

      • MDrew

        I’m going to wait until most of the votes are cast, and take an overall look at who did what. I get that “No yeses” is ideal, but there’s better and there’s worse.

      • calling all toasters

        Worked with Comey and Louis Freeh.

    • jdkbrown

      I just called her office to express my disappointment. I’d encourage you to do the same: 202-224-3244.

  • Peterr

    I think you have to take Schumer’s vote with a grain of salt. The Party Leader — in either house, in either party — often votes with the victorious side for reasons related to the rules of procedure rather than the merits of the question. A motion to reconsider, for instance, can only be offered by someone who was on the winning side of an earlier vote.

    There is also the issue of picking his battles. He’s going to be going up against Trump on all manner of things, and is it worth creating bad blood by casting a vote here that (a) would not change the outcome, and (b) antagonize the opposition? I think he looked at this, realized it wasn’t even close, and decided to let this one ride and look for the next battle. If Schumer thinks that there is a chance that Jeff Sessions could be defeated, he might have made the decision to let Pompeo ride so that he could twist some GOP arms on Ol’ Jefferson Beauregard. “I’m willing to give the president a certain amount of deference — see Pompeo — but I can’t stand by and let someone like Sessions take over the Department of Justice.”

    You can go back and look at Harry Reid’s voting record or Nancy Pelosi’s, and there will be similarly baffling votes if you believe they were voting strictly on the merits.

    Which is not to say that this is what Schumer was doing in this instance. We shall see.

    • Lurks

      A motion to reconsider, for instance, can only be offered by someone who was on the winning side of an earlier vote.

      Yes, but does it require 14 extra levels of redundancy just to be safe?

    • rea

      The Party Leader — in either house, in either party — often votes with the victorious side for reasons related to the rules of procedure rather than the merits of the question. A motion to reconsider, for instance, can only be offered by someone who was on the winning side of an earlier vote.

      I don’t think the Senate can retroactively unconfirm a nomination they previously confirmed–so no motion for reconsideration. In other contexts, you would be right.

    • liberalrob

      He’s going to be going up against Trump on all manner of things, and is it worth creating bad blood

      If you go against Trump, at any time, there is bad blood. Avoiding creating it here will not result in less of it being created there.

      There should be bad blood. These people are not fit to lead this country.

      • ColBatGuano

        Yeah, it only takes once to get Trump to turn on you. Might as well make it a badge of honor.

    • Phil Perspective

      He’s going to be going up against Trump on all manner of things, and is it worth creating bad blood by casting a vote here that (a) would not change the outcome, and (b) antagonize the opposition?

      LOL!! Chuckie should worry about being on the bad side of a rapist who lost the popular vote by 3+ million? After what happened this weekend? I need a drink!!

  • Simple Mind

    CNN had a clip with Schumer and Trump yesterday, where Schumer looked like the Brooklyn dry cleaner invited to lunch by the local mafia boss and being told he is going to be shaken down and like it.

    • humanoid.panda

      Or you know, Schumer could have been upset because he has to do these ceremonies with a bufoon that has no place in the White House. Or has an upset stomach.

  • I’m glad to say that neither of our senators (Sanders and Leahy) voted for Pompeo.

    Although I support resisting Trump, there is still a debate on how far to go with that. Some Democratic senators probably still resist the idea of opposing a President’s nominees on simple partisan lines, because once that becomes accepted practice, we could get a Senate refusing to allow a President to make any appointments at all, thus crippling the administrative branch for years on end. Even McConnell’s Senate majority didn’t go quite that far (although admittedly they weren’t in a position to do much damage six years into Obama’s presidency).

    However, Trump’s appointments have been so bad that there are very good non-partisan arguments for opposing virtually all of them. And I don’t think there’s an excuse for supporting Pompeo. Everyone who has Senators who voted for this guy should make their displeasure known.

    • Darkrose

      I’m planning to call DiFi’s office today.

      • Philip

        If we can find a credible primary challenge for her I will walk through fucking fire to vote for them.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Prediction — she won’t run for reelection.

          • DrS

            She will be 85, IIRC.

          • los

            A Dem successor is ‘guaranteed’. Does CA have a strong replacement lined up?

    • liberalrob

      Some Democratic senators probably still resist the idea of opposing a President’s nominees on simple partisan lines, because once that becomes accepted practice, we could get a Senate refusing to allow a President to make any appointments at all, thus crippling the administrative branch for years on end.

      Well golly gee, that sure sounds awful. I sure hope that never happens.

      • liberal

        I’m so, so fucking sick of this shit.

    • Mellano

      Sheldon Whitehouse’s office asked for my address when I called. He’s up for reelection in two years, and since his seat is safe I hope he isn’t getting complacent about any possible primaries.

      • efgoldman

        I hope he isn’t getting complacent about any possible primaries.

        Who would primary him? Raimondo? Not from the left. Some state rep or senator? That trick never works.

        • Mellano

          I don’t think there’s much risk, but still there’s always somebody out there — and other state politicians can look up and see every seat occupied for a while. Maybe the Treasurer, Magaziner? He’d have a lot of money if he wanted it, and presumably has ambitions.

    • Phil Perspective

      How did that work out for Merrick Garland?

  • Scott Lemieux

    Yup, I’m becoming more bullish on Gillibrand as the 2020 nominee all the time. I don’t think she’s more liberal than Booker overall, but it’s politics — optics matter. She seems to understand this in the way that Booker (and Clinton) often don’t.

    • Joe_JP

      Clinton was Secretary of State. That gave her foreign policy cred. Wary about Gillibrand on that level though I’m sure she’s qualified and all that on the issue. And, sure, Obama didn’t have to worry about that too much. But, no one said life is fair.

      ETA: Gillibrand is a Clinton protege, Gillibrand talks about this in her book, for instance. Interesting wrinkle for me, like when Franken ran in the memory of his hero.

      • liberalrob

        Franken won.

        Her name is not Clinton. That improves her chances.

        Nobody cares about foreign policy.

        • Joe_JP

          Nobody cares about foreign policy.

          Except when Obama was against the Iraq War. To cite but one of many examples that were significant.

          Agree on the first point. Avoiding hot button candidates was a thing back to the days of Henry Clay and probably before. But, she’s a woman, so realistically, has to deal with that.

          • liberal

            Except when Obama was against the Iraq War.

            Yeah, well, given that the invasion of Iraq was one of America’s worst foreign policy mistakes ever, it’s not really a good data point.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Clinton was Secretary of State. That gave her foreign policy cred.

        Yes, if there’s anything the elections of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama demonstrated, it’s the immense importance of ex ante “foreign policy cred.”

        • Hogan

          Plus, you know, the new guy. Oh wait, he didn’t actually win.

        • Joe_JP

          Yes, if there’s anything the elections of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama demonstrated, it’s the immense importance of ex ante “foreign policy cred.”

          I already mentioned Obama. You skip over this for some reason, looking hackish.

          There is a double standard here when women politicians are involved. And, even there, one or more of the others were helped by other factors — Obama, e.g., was against the Iraq War, which was a major issue. Bush surely got cred from being Bush’s son. etc.

          ETA: I didn’t actually say, so tiring to need to say this but you do this repeatedly, this will make her potential nomination unworkable. But, yes, it is a problem she will have to address as compared to someone else. Yes because of sexism. Her efforts against abuse in the military in the Senate will help her here along with her position there in general, just to be well-rounded in my comments.

        • ColBatGuano

          Reagan’s foreign policy cred is what put him in the White House. Wait, that doesn’t seem right. Let’s try again:

          Carter’s foreign policy cred…damn, this is harder than it looks.

          • los

            OPEC put reagan in, and has given reaganomics a 4 decade run.

      • TopsyJane

        Also, Gillibrand gets passes from liberals Clinton would never have received, even though her pre-Senate record is not especially liberal (unsurprising given her constituency) and at one time she was regarded as a mundane party hack.

        She is indeed close to Clinton and I’m sure Hillary was well pleased to see Gillibrand in her Senate seat instead of Caroline Kennedy.

        In fact, another contest between Gillibrand and the ambassador from Japan may be in the offing, if as rumored Kennedy is contemplating re-entry into politics.

        • TopsyJane

          That should be ambassador to Japan, obviously. Sigh.

        • rea

          another contest between Gillibrand and the ambassador from Japan may be in the offing

          Kenichiro Sasae is eligible to run?

          • TopsyJane

            I fixed it! I fixed it! Just not in time…..

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          She wasn’t a “mundane party hack”. She was a BLUE DOG.

          “Not especially liberal” is a major understatement.

          • Phil Perspective

            And she bragged about keeping a loaded pistol under her pillow!!

    • Gregor Sansa

      VP. Under Obama. (The one who’s constitutionally eligible, of course.)

      I know, there’s downsides. But Trump showed that if you have no fucks to give about your downsides (in his case, because his narcissism literally blinds him to them), they are less important than your strengths. And Michelle has strengths, and no fucks to give.

      I don’t think she really wants the job. But she would kick ass. We need to kick ass, not to have decent optics.

      • humanoid.panda

        Do we know she would kick ass? I mean, she did a wonderful job as campaign surrogate, but its not the same as running your own campaign.

        • Rob in CT

          Right. Michelle Obama has never run for anything before. And she’s clearly indicated that she hates the idea.

          This is a fantasy.

      • liberal

        But she would kick ass.

        We don’t know that.

        It’d really be better if we focused on seasoned office-holders.

        Yeah, Hillary was a Senator, but she never worked her way to the top. I don’t mean that in a sexist way, that she just leaned on having been first lady. I’m sure that in many ways, she’s better than her husband. But she was never a very good retail politician. (IMHO that doesn’t have much to do with how good a president she would have been, except to the extent that he campaigns suffered from not picking good people (if that’s true).)

        But when running someone for president against the agents of Satan, I’d be much more comfortable with someone who worked their way up and can point to a history of prevailing.

        • If 2016 proved anything, it’s that being a seasoned office holder is not necessarily a strength in a presidential election.

        • ColBatGuano

          It’d really be better if we focused on seasoned office-holders.

          Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump. We’ve got two 2-term governors, a VP with some House experience, a 3/4 term Senator and whatever Trump is. This is not really a recommendation for seasoned office-holders.

          • los

            imo, some experience is better than none.
            i’ve read that state governorship is best, but 2 years in the US House is far better than not even dogcatcher[1].

            adding opinion to this Gillibrand subthread, I think she is viable.
            criteria are
            1. possibility of enemy “flak” to stick.
            2. pleasing history satisfies emotionally stable voters.

            age will be mid 50s (?) in 2020, so no hag jokes will stick (and she pulls the electorally critical femme-lusting lesbian vote[2])
            no history of wackjob bloopers (that I recall)
            IIRC, Gillibrand’s previous not-very-left performance did match her previous district, and that “explanation” will impress stable voters.

            If interested, Gillibrand needs to increase national visibility now (lesson learned from Sanders error)

            ________
            1. Trump proved that lifelong palling around with the mafia wins altcuck voters, but altcucks will never vote for Gillibrand
            2. obligatory joke

    • kped

      How did Booker vote here?

      Yeah, Gillibrand is making smart choices. It’s what I’ve been saying to “lefties” on the internet – if you want someone to win, you better have them start NOW. Gillibrand realizes this, and she is voting accordingly. Optics wise, she is married, which may give her a leg up on Booker (a bullshit one…but it is what it is…). I haven’t heard her speak, is she any good?

      • N__B

        I haven’t heard her speak, is she any good?

        Yes, except for that audience that hates all women for being shrill.

      • Scott Lemieux

        She’s good. She’s a good speaker and she’s good at retail politics.

    • randy khan

      I’ve liked her for a while. She’s consistently been underestimated by people since she was appointed to fill Clinton’s seat. (And, in fact, a lot of people thought it was a bad appointment.) Among other things, she seems to be a very good judge of what she needs to do to get elected.

      • My in-laws: “Caroline Kennedy deserves that position! She’s a KENNEDY!!!”

        • Davis X. Machina

          The reflex desire to run a Kennedy for every office is something that unites both wings of the party.

          DemocraticUnderground.com has proposed her for every opening that came up, including Marine Corps Commandant.

          Ok, it’s a slight exaggeration.

          • Hogan

            IF we’re all about running celebrity candidates, why not?

          • TopsyJane

            I was glad when Gillibrand took the seat but the Princess Royal would have been an okay choice. She’s not a dazzler like her parents, but she seems a decent sort and she would have received good coaching from Uncle Ted. If she’d gotten the seat and done well, with her star power she could have developed into her uncle’s successor as the Senate’s liberal lion — there’s still a vacancy sign — or possibly even a presidential candidate. A legacy candidate so soon after Clinton would be bad optics but if she runs for another office and wins the party could do worse. Apparently she thinks so, too, so things could get (more) interesting.

          • los

            Marine Corps Commandant.
            Ok, it’s a slight exaggeration

            could be worse

        • witlesschum

          This Kennedy business is a goddamn brain disease.

      • TopsyJane

        (And, in fact, a lot of people thought it was a bad appointment.)

        Not without reason. She was a Blue Dog.

        • randy khan

          But she’s not now. I won’t say those people were wrong to worry about it, but she figured out very quickly what she needed to do to be a viable statewide candidate.

  • humanoid.panda

    Now, this looks like a smart move by Dems.

    A group of senior Senate Democrats on Tuesday plan to unveil their own $1 trillion plan to revamp the nation’s airports, bridges, roads and seaports, urging President Trump to back their proposal, which they say would create 15 million jobs over 10 years.

    The Democrats said their infrastructure plan would rely on direct federal spending and would span a range of projects including not only roads and bridges, but also the nation’s broadband network, hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs and schools….

    Since there is no way that GOP actually votes for this, the plan doesn’t create any political benefits for Trump re: employment, and it preempts his scam plans.

    It also squares the circle of how not to be like the Republicans, and yet oppose Trump efficiently.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yup, that’s the way to do it. Propose your own good plan, and then use it to explain why you’re not voting for whatever crap Ryan and McConnell actually put to a vote.

      • Exactly

      • rea

        “Do the opposite of how Republicans handled health care,” in other words.

        • kped

          +10000

          “repeal and replace…just give us a decade to figure out what we replace it with. Does this IOU count for now?”

    • Rob in CT

      Good, good…

    • randy khan

      This is a fine, fine idea. I’m glad they’re doing it. In addition to all of the other benefits, it takes some of the spotlight away from Trump during his first week in office, which undoubtedly will enrage him.

    • ColBatGuano

      Now something like this on tax reform would be lovely.

    • los

      hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs

      good
      (good also because it counters an altcuck ragging/nagging point, though i’ve noticed that they don’t appear to actually be raging about it.)

  • njorl

    I was trying to think of some circumstance which would make a small but useful number of Republican senators reject a cabinet appointment by a Republican president. There might be justification for strategic use of “yes” and “no” votes if that were possible. I couldn’t come up with anything. Maybe if he were an otherwise acceptable right winger who was either way too pro-Israel or not nearly pro Israel enough it might cause a fissure in Republican ranks.

    I suppose, for PR value, having at least one appointee you voted “yes” on makes you look like you’re not just opposing all Trump nominees as a policy.

    • ΧΤΠΔ

      We already had Mattis & Kelly, so…

  • Joe_JP

    James Mattis is the easiest to defend and on various things sounds sane. Gillibrand was against him on principle — she didn’t want to waive the rule against the waiting period for those in the military. Not sure if she didn’t like him for another reason.

    John Kelly is somewhat harder and a quick look suggests the problem was that he wouldn’t oppose various controversial things. I can understand however a reasonable argument for voting for him as compared to some of the deplorables nominated.

    Pompeo sounds like the hardest the defend.

    • humanoid.panda

      Apparently, Mattis just had a phone conversation with the Sec-Gen. of NATO, reassuring him that the US will keep deterring Russia. Having two, maybe three, US foreign policies will be fun!

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        you have to figure that financially Trump has always had two-three sets of books going, he’s used to it by now

        • rea

          financially Trump has always had two-three sets of books going, he’s used to it by now

          Three sets of books: One to fool the stockholders, one to fool the government, and one to fool himself.

          [the old jokes are the best jokes].

          • kped

            The one to fool himself is a hand drawing he made showing him as the richest man in the world. And he believes it completely. He styled it as a Forbes magazine cover, but spelled it as Forbs. He shows it to people when the go to his office “hey, get a load of this, richest all time, it’s in a magazine even, the best one!”.

          • los

            Three sets of books: One to fool the stockholders, one to fool the government, and one to fool himself.

            And Trump is the only person unaware which book is the third. (Putin and Bannon know. It’s the book with the biggest hands)

      • timb

        The upside is Trump will stop paying attention soon and Pence supports NATO. So, you know, down to Flynn’s policy v Mattis’s

      • wengler

        I said it before and I’ll say it again. This administration is going to be a thousand different people with a thousand different agendas, each of them being systematically undercut by Trump. Very simple and necessary tasks of the Executive will likely not be done.

        • efgoldman

          each of them being systematically undercut by Trump.

          Not systematically. That implies a plan and strategery. Mandarin Malignancy is incapable of planning and strategery.

  • I once again, on behalf of California Democrats, apologize for Dianne Feinstein. I hope Harris will be better.

    On a more serious note, though, Feinstein’s vote is not surprising. She’s always taken the posture that the more extreme positions your intelligence services take the better. The only time she ever got her back up was when the CIA challenged the Senate’s prerogatives.

    • AlanInSF

      Why did I not even have to read the list to know that our bright blue state’s pale red Senator for Life would be on it.

      • Good news, though! She plans on running for reelection in 2018, when she will be a mere 85 years old, and no doubt she’ll win again. We’re like the old south out here, the way we keep people in office til they die. This is the electoral battle that California Democrats need to start preparing for now.

        • liberal

          I would assume incumbents always have a big advantage, in the primaries, too.

          • Absolutely, but if she keeps this up and we can build on the energy from Saturday we might have a better than usual chance of unseating her.

    • SatanicPanic

      I’ve decided that from now on when calling her office I’m going to start asking if she plans to retire.

    • geniecoefficient

      Yes, and going beyond the intelligence agencies, she’s always put the interests of military-industrial sector ahead of anything. She assimilated the point of view and priorities of her husband and husband’s friends long ago – they’re ALL military contractors – and devotes herself to protecting defending, and furthering their material welfare. The public interest be damned.

      She’s been a rotted, stinking shard of corruption and authoritarianism for years now, and she’s got to go.

  • randy khan

    Truth be told, while I’d probably have liked the Dems to stick together for all of the votes, if I have to choose the ones for them to vote in favor, the national security votes are the ones that I’d let go.

    I will have a much different feeling about any Democrat who votes for Sessions or DeVos, though.

    • ColBatGuano

      Don’t forget Pruitt!

  • I just can’t get behind the idea of opposing Mattis.

    • Steve LaBonne

      If I were a Senator I would have voted to confirm him.

    • liberal

      From the point of view of “there’s no way there’s going to be anyone better,” sure.

      From the perspective of “Should we accept anyone who’s stupid enough to claim that Iran and ISIS aren’t enemies?,” the answer is “no”.

      • Steve LaBonne

        I think for that particular job, given the danger of having no counterweight at all a lunatic like Trump with his finger on the button, I have to go with door #1.

    • wengler

      I can. In fact it’d be better to oppose every single part of Trump’s administration.

  • Pingback: Day Five of 1,461 (or 2,922) – Five Dozen Liquor Jugs()

It is main inner container footer text