The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Party

Hello Widdershins!

Well, to everyone’s relief SCOTUS Justice Breyer finally announced he will retire instead of dropping dead when Mitch McConnell can block a nominee or a GOP President can appoint another Christian Taliban member. President Biden previously said that he would appoint an African American woman to be the court’s first Justice. He reaffirmed his position on it this week. Naturally Republicans are losing their minds. They not subtly argue that there are no qualified black women in American judiciary for SCOTUS. And they claim Biden has politicized his pick too much with identity politics. Nevermind that almost all SCOTUS justices have been white men, which is certainly identity politics. And never mind that almost all of them have been Catholics, which is also identity politics. But the idea that there are no black women in judiciary that are as qualified as Kavanaugh or Coney Barrett is really amazing! I have no doubt that Biden’s pick will be eminently more qualified than the last two Republican justices, who are not only two of the dumbest people in the country, but also two of the most partisan and intellectually dishonest. But if GOP so concerned about an unqualified black woman sitting on the Court, let Biden add 3 more seats and fill them with men and women of other colors. Problem solved!

Hello Widdershins,

It’s election day 2020 and here’s a thread for us to discuss and…celebrate (I’m crossing everything I possibly can.)

This is an open thread.

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We are less than a week away from the midterms. November 6, 2018 will be a red-letter day for America. History will be written with that day as the dividing line. What America was before 11/6/18 and what it will become after. It is impossible to really know what will happen. Predicting the outcome is an exercise in futility. We thought we knew what would happen on 11/8/16 and the electorate disappointed. Will the Blue Wave of the special elections become a tsunami of the midterms? Or will it subside and resemble only a small tide? Nobody can predict. Will people actually leave their homes and vote? Who knows. There are still an extraordinary amount of people who don’t plan to vote. New Yorker just had an article about some young people who don’t plan to vote because reasons. There are voters who still don’t feel inspired by anyone. And there are voters who just don’t think it’s a big deal. Will these people vote when it counts? Who knows… We can hope that someone, a friend, will make them see the light on the issue.

There is also the question of Trump voters: will they vote? Some argue that believing that everything on the news is Fake News makes them ignorant of the imminent blue wave. That may be true… but it’s also true that Trump and the entire GOP – now openly, proudly a party of Nazis, racists, anti-Semites, homophobes – are using every dirty trick in the book to steal the election: everything from purging voter rolls to shutting down voting stations so people can’t vote to sending out wrong voting information to leaving Democratic candidates off the ballot. We’ve seen all these things play out in real time and it terrifies me to say that I’ve seen very little reaction from Democrats. ACLU does what it can to file lawsuits, but the Democratic party leaders are mostly silent, letting the candidates – the vast majority of whom are new at this – find their own way. In North Dakota Republicans – after saying Native Americans must have IDs with an address they don’t have on reservations – are now rejecting ballots because the color of the ink is “wrong.” Election is being openly stolen in Georgia and the Democratic party – and the media – are looking at it as helpless spectators.

And we also don’t know what will happen on November 7th. Whether Democrats manage to win anything or if Republicans hold on to all of their power. What will Trump do? I think we can safely assume that if Democrats win the House – Trump will try to declare the election invalid. He is already floating ideas of rigging by Democrats. We know the GOP will back Trump 100%. What will Democrats do when that happens? I am not hopeful. If Republicans hold on to all of their power – things will go off the rails in a different way. GOP and Trump will declare a mandate and I really think that will be our last election. I am sorry to be this negative. I just want to make sure we are all prepared for November 7th. Because I think November 7th is going to be very bad, no matter how the vote goes.

Do you think I’m off my rocker?

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It’s a mess. All of it. The whole damned thing is a disaster. Dump nukes NATO, issues an executive order to fire some judges, nominates a hyper-partisan former Bill Clinton hunter and Bush White House torturer to be the new SCOTUS (which justice Kennedy might have used some unethical backchannel shenanigans to make happen), Roe is on the chopping block, etc. etc. I don’t need to make a full list, you already know. So where the bloody hell is the Democratic leadership? Chuck? Nancy? Bueller? I think we have all been asking this question for a long time. Why are the national Democratic leaders not leading protests and rallies to oppose Trump? Why is Maxine Waters the only member of Congress to seemingly be an avowed member of The Resistance? They may not have the votes to stop him and McConnell/Ryan – but why are they not making any noise to make it seem like they give a damn? It’s demoralizing, yes? I’ve been raging at them for some time, I know you have too. A few days ago The Hoarse Whisperer wrote an interesting thread on twitter that attempted to answer that question. And I think he made a very compelling argument for why Nancy and Chuck are not on TV every day screaming at Trump and McConnell and generally wreaking havoc, and why it may actually be the correct strategy.

The Hoarse Whisperer argued that by placing themselves in front of the camera as “leaders of the Resistance” Chuck and Nancy and Kamala, etc., will make every single election around the country about the Democratic leadership, not about the specific Democratic candidate, and that would be a disaster for Democrats. Imagine San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi every day on TV calling Trump a dumbass. One reason Democrats have managed to flip almost every special election, even in deep red states, is that although Republicans keep trying to tie Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or Kamala Harris to each candidate, the “establishment” leaders of the party – by staying largely out of the way – allow each candidate to disown them and run on local issues…and then win. (Pelosi actually said recently that she doesn’t care if Democrats like Connor Lamb bashed her as long as they win their elections.) The public thinks their absence a sign of weakness or lack of determination to fight Trump. (It may actually be with Schumer, who is a wuss, but definitely not with Pelosi, who is a legislative warrior.) The public wants to see Pelosi storm the barricades because it will feel like she’s doing something even though legislatively there is nothing she can do at the moment. But in reality all Nancy Pelosi storming barricades would do is make each special election, in every red state, about Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal. So it’s not a sign of weakness; it is a strategy for Democratic party leaders to stay out of the way and let others be the faces of the Resistance. And the special elections results so far are evidence that the strategy is working.

What do you think about this? I actually was convinced by this argument.

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Another question: this photo of Melanie Trump is from Brussels. Does it look like she had kidney surgery?

And a bit of literature trivia: The Booker Prize is a prestigious British literary award, given each year to an English-language work of fiction published in the UK. To commemorate their 50th anniversary the Bookers decided to create a special award this year, to recognize the best novel out of its past 50 winners. It’s an impressive list made up of Salman Rushdie, William Golding, Hilary Mantel, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood

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Michael Ondaatje

and many other writing geniuses. The judges narrowed the list down to 1 title from each decade and then they let the big words loving public vote on the ultimate winner. And the prize was given to….Michael Ondaatje’s “The English Patient.” I’m sorry to our friend Pat, a former member of our blog, who detested Anthony Minghella’s movie adaptation with every fiber of her body. It’s a shame because I consider it to be one of the top 10 best (English language) movies ever made. And Ondaatje’s novel – quite different from the movie in some key story points, but breathing the same fire in spirit – is truly a masterpiece of words. When I read it I would go back and re-read entire pages because of the beauty of Ondaatje’s language. It is poetry in prose. And the characters he created are magnificent and rich with life. From the title character, the “English” patient – a man who betrayed everything he believed in for a woman he loved; to the young nurse, Hana, who tries to give him comfort in his final days because he reminds her of her loved dead ones and she is desperate to hold on to her memories for as long as she can; to the young Indian sapper Kip, whose life is consumed with finding bombs to diffuse and if he misses one – he knows people will die. “He spends all day searching,” Hana says at one point, “and at night he only wants to be found.” One of the most beautiful passages in the book – read in its entirety in the movie – is from a journal the Patient’s beloved, Katharine, left behind in a cave where she died alone.

My darling, I’m waiting for you — how long is a day in the dark, or a week? The fire is gone now, and I’m horribly cold. I really ought to drag myself outside but then there would be the sun. . . I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings and on writing these words. We die, we die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have entered and swum up like rivers, fears we have hidden in, like this wretched cave. I want all this marked in my body. We are the real countries, not the boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you will come and carry me out into the palace of winds. That’s all I’ve wanted — to walk in such a place with you, with friends, on earth without maps. The lamp is gone now, and I’m writing in the darkness.

No Shame

Posted on: June 28, 2017

Fall of the Berlin Wall - 20th anniversary - Reception at Bellevue Palace
The most common accusation made against Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign – as well as the entire Democratic party today – is that they have no message. This absence of a message is, they argue, what forced the “working class” (they frequently forget to say “white”) into the arms of Trump. This is blatantly preposterous. There is a difference between “message” and “messaging.” To say Hillary Clinton had no message beyond “Trump is bad,” when she provided detailed policy papers for virtually every subject likely to face an American President, is insane. To say that Trump, who offered no solutions to any problem, had some sort of message beyond “crooked Hillary” is equally insane. Trump’s campaign may have been good at messaging: Make America Great Again. But that is not a message. It’s a slogan devoid of any actual meaning. Clinton and the Democrats had detailed messages. But details are boring. And so CNN aired Trump rallies live, without commentary, and in their entirety because “Make America Great Again” requires no effort to process. It’s goes through your body like rotten fish. Discussing Clinton’s detailed policy, however, was boring. And so they didn’t discuss it. They discussed her e-mails. The Nightly News shows – ABC/CBS/NBC – dedicated x 3 time to “her e-mails” than to all policy combined. But they continue to accuse Clinton and Democrats of not having a message beyond “Trump is bad.”

In fact: “Trump is bad” is actually a pretty good message. If anyone still doesn’t understand why, then they are beyond all hope. But “they have no message” has reverberated still. Bashing Jon Ossoff’s GA campaign pundits and Bernie Bros have been screaming that Democrats still have no message beyond “Trump is bad” 7 months after the election. As Nate Silver and WaPo’s Dave Weigel have pointed out, however, Ossoff never actually discussed Trump. This laziness of the pundits – and obvious intellectual dishonesty of Bernie Bros – is in large part why we have ended up with 45.

The other reason is Democrats’ frequently lack of courage to stand by their candidates and causes. How many times we have seen someone say something nice about Clinton by first saying: “I know she’s very problematic but…” There have been a million variations on this theme, very recently Ezra Klein’s column “In (Partial) Defense of Hillary Clinton.” He starts the column with the following words:

I’m going to do something unpopular now. I’m going to defend Hillary Clinton.

You know what Ezra: go fuck yourself with the horse you rode in on. Even at the height of the election countless Democrats – the ones who were going to vote for Clinton – began their praise of her by saying “I know she’s problematic…” Stop. This. Bullshit. If you don’t have the courage to stand by your candidate, then you are not helping. You are part of the “messaging” problem. It was the same with Ossoff in GA. We are seeing it with Democrats in general. Democrat voters just can’t help flagellating themselves. “I mean, I know D’s aren’t perfect but…” No. Stop. This won’t inspire confidence in anyone to embrace Democrats and our values. Republicans never do this. This is where the “message” vs. “messaging” becomes to clear. Democrats have a great message. But messaging could be improved by just saying: “You know what. We’re pretty fucking awesome because A, B and C.” I tell people I voted for Hillary Clinton not because she was the lesser of two evils (how’s that for an endorsement?). I voted for Hillary Clinton because she was a fantastic candidate. And I’m a Democrat because Democrats have the superior platform. Look at all these policy papers that aim to protect women, children, immigrants, LGBTQ, all minorities. Democratic party is the superior party. I don’t qualify that statement with anything. I am not ashamed to say it loud and clear. That is the message and that should be our messaging: clear, unequivocal and without shame.

 


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