“There is a lot at stake, and people are scared, but we can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in just because we’re too scared to do anything else.”
— Sen. Elizabeth Warren Democratic debate (7/30/19)
“I do know it,” he said. “I wrote the damn bill!”
— Sen. Bernie Sanders in response to Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) remark re: M4A bill; Democratic debate (7/30/19)
“Russia’s efforts to interfere in our elections remain relentless.”
— Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) signing her support for Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act – first GOP sponsor.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (8/1/19)
Dear Fellow Readers,
The Democratic debate on Tuesday night was the moderates against the progressives. The progressives, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders were center stage based on their standings in the polls coming into the debate. The moderates were on the right (looking at the stage and metaphorically) with some on the left as well. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former congressman Beto O’Rourke were in between, again both by position on the stage and politically – not entirely progressive, not entirely moderate.
The Warren-Sanders team defended their program proposals and carried the day though the fight is far from over.
Warren put former Maryland Rep. John Delaney in his place:
“I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.”
Marianne Wilson made a popular point in front of the Detroit, Michigan crowd:
“I assure you, I lived in Grosse Pointe (Detroit wealthy suburb). What happened in Flint would not happen in Grosse Pointe. This is part of the dark underbelly of American society.”
She also added, “I look at some of you and I almost wonder why you’re Democrats. You almost think something is wrong with using the instruments of government to help people.”
Buttigieg was a voice of reasonableness in favor of ambitious positions even if not solidly progressive:
“If we embrace a far-left agenda, they are going to say we are a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, do you know what they are going to do? They are going to say we are a bunch of crazy socialists. So let’s just stand up for the right policy, go out there, and defend it.”
Bernie made it clear that politics-as-usual was failing us:
“Tonight in America as we speak, 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured but the health-care industry made $100 billion in profits last year.”
Yet, as Warren pointed out, some on the stage were not willing to think big.
In a few months few will remember former congressman Delaney (D-MD), one of the more vocal moderate protaganists, but in the future Trump and Republicans will pose tougher questions and greater distortions – the debates are for sharpening positions and answers. There is sharpening to be done.
The debate tonight (Wednesday, or last night as this is published) will have the other half of the Democratic candidates on stage and more fireworks are expected.
The debates are the story of the hour but there is Trump-Russia news.
The former special counsel Mueller hearings continue to drive impeachment conversions in spite of not-great TV; the number is now estimated at 110 House Dems in support. That’s a 10-15 gain. The premise of the hearing was, if you won’t read the book, maybe you’ll watch the movie! The movie turned out to not be so good, but the trailer that came out after is excellent. If you watch the debate(s) this 30-second ad is running on both CNN and MSNBC: Need To Impeach – What Mueller Said.
The Washington Post offered an impeachment or impeachment inquiry update on Tuesday and also embedded the ‘Need To Impeach’ ad. A spoiler, but the end of the video is an exchange between Mueller and House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA):
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) asks Mueller whether Trump’s 2016 campaign welcomed help from Russia. Mueller replies that they did.
““And then they lied to cover it up,” Schiff says.
“Mueller responds: “Generally, that’s true.””
The Washington Post article also points out Senate Leader McConnell’s ongoing blocking of any legislation to boost election security. McConnell has been given the nickname of ‘Moscow Mitch’ and it turns out, it gets under his skin, so please, please, puhleeze don’t use this (wink, wink). Trump administration messengers agreeing with Mueller’s observation of ongoing election attacks by Russia include FBI Director Wray and former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats pushes back against criticism of his blocking by pulling the ‘McCarthyism’ card calling criticism “toxic”.
https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/-moscow-mitch-mcconnell-lashes-out-64929349926 As noted with the opening quote from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Moscow Mitch’s non-action is now facing a real challenge.
One final update. Trump has nominated Sen. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to replace Coats as Director of National Intelligence. Once again a Trump nominee garnered a nomination simply by being a staunch Trump supporter beyond any stretch of logic or reason. For a variety of reasons, Ratcliffe faces a tough uphill battle to win appointment, but listen to former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi point out the Ratcliffe appointment as another piece of Trump’s intent along with personal lawyer and attorney general Barr to weaponize and politicize intelligence. Barr has been authorized to cherry-pick all intelligence and is leaking to House Intelligence (minority) ranking member Devin Nunes (R-CA). The goal is embarrass and undermine any Dems leading investigations of Trump-Russia.
Coats earned Trump’s ire by disagreeing on North Korea, ongoing ISIS in Iraq and Syria and other Trump foreign policy claims. Coats memorably predicted North Korea was never going to give up its nuclear weapons.
In the Trump administration there is no voice of reason, only the voice of Trump. Look no further than Coats’s resignation and Ratcliffe’s nomination and the repeated damage to our democracy invited by Moscow Mitch.