Pick The Rock Star

Many people seem to be anxious for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. to select his running mate. I have heard many folks indicate a level of impatience regarding the matter, but I think there is at least one factor many do not consider when leveling their patience.

Yes, this is a vital selection, and my own opinion is that Kamala Harris is the woman for the job. And I appreciate much that Biden is apparently exercising a thorough vetting process. I mean, do we all remember Sarah Palin?

But there’s another thing I think the campaign is having to consider regarding the big announcement: How do we do it?

This announcement would normally take place on a nice big stage, like Obama did in Springfield. Pomp and circumstance. A cheering crowd looking on. Then they exit the stage with “Hell Bent for Leather” blasting out of the amps. Of course we know that this event cannot happen, not in what is being called more and more the “new normal.” Not only does the Biden campaign have to settle on the right person, the right name, but they also have to figure out a really great way to roll out the announcement without the big event and all the people with their nasty exhaled vapors.

Frankly, I like the idea of giving Joy Reid the scoop.

Reid, the MSNBC host who must have Q-scores through the roof and who just two weeks ago latched onto the 7 p.m. slot long-held but awkwardly abandoned by Chris Matthews, who left his hosting duties at Hardball mid-show on March 2. As it is a new program, Reid’s ratings have been through the roof. An announcement on that air would grab plenty of eyeballs. Don’t make some hokey YouTube announcement, just go on The ReidOut and announce there.

And, as I indicated before, please make it Kamala Harris.

Face it. I was right about Hillary Clinton’s VP pick. I know, Tim Kaine is a nice man and all, but as her choice for running mate, it didn’t do the job. I mean, look at these two:

Then. Look at these two.

The first is dork central, two same bland energies with the chemistry of a stale bagel. A Sherrod Brown pick would have energized the ticket, not to mention would have lent it a progressive pedigree many argued was sorely lacking. However, I must admit that my first test for a vice presidential nominee is somewhat superficial: I think the pair should look as if they were topping a (BIG GAY) wedding cake.

Now look at these two.

I know the “wedding cake” test isn’t enough, but the fact is that Biden and Harris sure do ace it.

So what else do we like about Harris? That she’s run successfully for statewide office? That she hasn’t in her past erroneously claimed minority membership? That she hasn’t in her past hitched her wagon to Castro’s Cuba? That she is not even remotely associated with the “Benghazi” nonsense?

That she’s a rock star on the campaign trail?

There is, of course, the elephant in the room, which is Harris’ bizarre overreach trying to take Biden down during the presidential debates. I like this chapter though as part of the whole package. It shows Biden as a pragmatic and forgiving soul, quite a foil from the petty impeached idiot we’re bearing these days.

Essentially, at this point, the running mate has one job: Energize the ticket and help us win. I think no candidate in the running does that better than Kamala Harris. Let’s go, K-Hive.

Nobody Likes Him

So — you know, it’s interesting: [Dr. Fauci]’s got a very good approval rating, and I like that. It’s good. Because remember, he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us, John. We could have gotten other people. We could have gotten somebody else. It didn’t have to be Dr. Fauci. He’s working with our administration. And, for the most part, we’ve done pretty much what he and others — Dr. Birx and others, who are terrific — recommended.

And he’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration, with respect to the virus? We should have a very high, because what we’ve done in terms of — we’re just reading off about the masks and the gowns and the ventilators and numbers that nobody has seen, and the testing at 55 million tests; we tested more than anybody in the world. I have a graph that I’d love to show you — perhaps you’ve seen it — where we’re up here and the rest of the world is down at a level that’s just a tiny fraction of what we’ve done, in terms of testing.

So it sort of is curious: A man works for us — with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Birx also highly thought of. And yet, they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all.

Or because you’re doing a shitty job.

I mean, can you imagine a more pathetic, whiny statement from any other preznit? Gravity crush, that is astonishing.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert (Asshole Party, Texas), who has spent as much time as possible marching around without a preventive face covering, was diagnosed with the COVID. And, he decided it was best to inform his staff in person.

The schadenfreude needs to not be so out of control. I HOPE HE HAS RESPIRATORY ISSUES FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE shhhhh….

Medicare for All is a Bumper Sticker

This will likely stir many people to want me to shred my “progressive” card, but I see many on social media frothing at the mouth because the presumptive nominee for the preznit of these untied states doesn’t support something called “Medicare for All.” And I think that’s a good thing.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

In March 2009, President Barack Obama held a “healthcare summit.” At the table are doctors, insurers, drug companies, consumers advocates and lawmakers.

In July 2009, he is quoted by NPR: “If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That’s the kind of system that you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we’re not starting from scratch.”

Among the elements of the ACA: An end to cutting people off from medical intervention due to “pre-existing conditions.” Parents can keep their kids insured through age 26. State exchanges, but with subsidies to help the sticker shock. And, vitally, high-risk corridor payments to help insurance providers roll with accepting less healthy people while younger, healthier specimens are shamed and fined into getting covered.

The ACA was made in a brilliant and ideal way. Call all the stakeholders together. Solicit their ideas and concerns. Obama didn’t just get a law passed. He made public policy, one that was a bit of Jenga. But it was subjectively good, so you didn’t reckon some idiots would come along and start pulling pieces out.

Would you?

Of course, they did. Republican states refused to create exchanges, refused to expand Medicare. Sen. Marco Rubio eventually killed the high-risk corridor payments. The Republicans were out to drown the ACA in acid, despite that it was good public policy that actually did what it said it would do, to provide more people with better coverage.

It fulfills that mission to this day, despite more than 70 unsuccessful votes to kill it with a straight vote, despite countless sabotage efforts, including the current effort in court to outright kill it and throw countless Americans off of their current insurance in the middle of a fucking pandemic. The ACA, like The Dude, abides.

So, what the fuck is Medicare for All?

When Bernie Sanders talks about Medicare for All and how it will be implemented, he basically says, “What we’re going to do is, we’re just going to tell the insurance companies to go fuck themselves with their own neckties, and they’ll just then have to eat those neckties for lunch, and they’ll like it! Screw those karens!”

This is, of course, paraphrased.

That is, basically, the only planning I see for how to implement the policy: Tell the insurance companies to fuck off. And, by the way, have we asked the average doctor how they feels about Medicare reimbursements?

This is bad politics. It’s bad policy. And it’s stupidly redundant considering the decade of spent political capital, face swats, and sweaty brows Democrats have endured to establish what I think analysts will one day see as one of the most successful domestic policy reforms of all time: Obamacare.

Get us a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and Joe Biden as Preznit. Stop crowing about “Medicare for All” because “fetch” will happen first, Gretchen. Fix it. Improve it. Add a public option. Add a public option. Add a public option.

That we can get done. Medicare for All is a fucking bumper sticker. And it will never happen.

The Urgent Salience of Biden’s Veep Pick

There is a real feeling among most Democrats I’ve talked to of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just the other day, my dear Mother commented to me that Biden needs to stop messing around and pick a running mate already.

Whatever form it takes in the SARS-CoV-2 world in which we live, the Democratic Convention is planned for the third week of August. So we’ll know soon, at least by then. He has indicated he will announce by Aug. 1, so it will be soon indeed. I think many people want to know so they can start to see the campaign coalesce, and to have some relief that Biden has picked someone who will energize his campaign.

As it stands, the running mate pick is perhaps one of the most important decisions a candidate makes. I tend to be rather superficial in figuring on my favorites. If the candidates don’t look nice together, or if they don’t exude some kind of chemistry, they aren’t going to win voters over. I think in this regard, the Obama-Biden match was sublime. Hillary Clinton’s choice in 2016? Not so much.

You don’t even remember that person’s name, do you?


John Kerry picked John Edwards, and they looked like they belonged on a wedding cake your local true believer bakery would refuse to bake. And let’s not even start talking about a certain former governor of Alaska.

But this morning I thought of another factor that’s going to make Biden’s pick particularly important: She is likely to be the person who heads up Biden’s coronavirus efforts.

As feckless as it is, Trump’s coronavirus team is already structured via the Eisenhower. Chains of communication, data, work already completed, phone trees, email chains, all the little crap that makes things go in Washington, they are already going through the Vice-President. If I were the new Preznit, and I knew that I had to hit the ground running on this issue, I would turn to my Vice-Preznit and say “congratulations, you’re our new Sars Czar.”

Sars Czar, you like that? I just made it up. Nobody has ever heard of that before.

So when you’re mulling your own favorites, mark my word on this one: Factor in that Biden’s Vice President is likely to be the person in charge of the new federal efforts on the pandemic. Who do you want in that role? That’s your gal.

Bernie. Maybe.

Folks who have dealt with me in the political realm have often had to hear me tell them, point blank, that I do not like Bernie Sanders. This has not always been the case. I listened to his “Brunch with Bernie” segments weekly on The Thom Hartmann Program and generally agreed with his positions and appreciated his astonishing ability to communicate them. But then we experienced the election of 2016, when I feel like I saw what some people didn’t, that Bernie Sanders in 2016 stayed in the race and claimed a path to the nomination even when one was not mathematically possible. And while I am loathe to re-litigate 2016, let me summarize how I know this is what happened.

March 1, 2016, Super Tuesday. Hillary, 606; Bernie, 415. Clinton leads by 191 delegates. March 5, Clinton 653, Sanders 467. Clinton leads by 196 delegates. March 8, Clinton 765, Sanders 556. Clinton leads by 209 delegates. March 15, Clinton 1,166 Sanders 852. Clinton leads by 314 delegates. March 22, Clinton 1,219, Sanders 930. Clinton leads by 289 delegates. March 26, Clinton 1,257, Sanders 1,034. Clinton leads by 223 delegates. April 5, Clinton 1,295, Sanders 1,082. Clinton leads by 213 delegates.

April 19, the New York primary. Sanders takes a rare lead in delegates. Clinton 1,141, Sanders 1,197. Sanders leads by 56 delegates.

April 26, Midwest states vote. Clinton 1,667, Sanders 1,364. Clinton leads Sanders by 303 delegates. May 3, Indiana, a surprise Sanders victory. Pledged delegate TTD: Clinton 1,706, Sanders 1,408. Clinton leads Sanders by 298 delegates. June 4, Clinton 1,781, Sanders 1,492. Clinton leads Sanders by 289 delegates.

I hear arguments that Hillary Clinton unfairly pocketed the un-pledged delegates and therefore unfairly took the nomination. But if you were an un-pledged delegate, and you were looking at those pledged delegates numbers, who would you support? The people spoke. They chose their nominee. And it was Hillary, fair and square. This was clear all along and quite clear by June.

Bernie didn’t concede until July 12. Trump had been the Republicans’ presumptive nominee since May 26.

Yinz don’t see the problem?


There was a debate Sunday, and I’ve been mulling over Biden’s and Sanders’ positions regarding this lovely corona virus gizmo that we’re all going to such Mad Max measures to avoid. And, essentially, if I had to sum up their positions, Sanders’ position was that our country’s pathetic failure to be prepared for this pandemic in large part is due to a greater disinterest on our country’s part in public health, that the problem is large and systemic, and that it points directly and with neon lights to a need in these Untied States for a national health care system.

Joe Biden argued that, well, nuh-uh. It’s just like an emergency, man, and the larger inequities and the systemic failures in our health care is a separate issue.

Which one of those positions do you know in your heart is right?

So while I’m still leery of Sanders’ continued insistence on bolting at windmills such as the “Democratic establishment,” I am finding myself in this age of “social distancing” to feel a bit more militant about our shitty health care system and about the broad mindset, the grist of horrible Ayn Rand novels, that makes so many things in these Untied States so wrong. I cannot hold Joe Biden’s argument in my head and entertain it as truth or inspiration. I am terrified and drenched in Purell. And I may just be feeling the Bern.

South Carolina

Vice-President Joe Biden was declared the winner in South Carolina immediately after polls closed. This is his first primary victory. Ever.

Tom Steyer dropped out. This news made me yawp at the television as if I were watching a close basketball game.

Current delegate count: Bernie Sanders, 53; Joe Biden, 41; Pete Buttigieg, 22; Elizabeth Warren, 8; Amy Klobuchar, 7.

Next: Super Tuesday. This Tuesday. Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. 1,617 delegates are up for grabs. All ya’ll go vote.

Nevada Caucus

Bernie Sanders was the clear frontrunner in the Nevada Caucus and stands currently as the frontrunner overall. Here is the delegate count to-date, according to NPR:

Bernie Sanders, 31; Pete Buttigieg, 22; Elizabeth Warren, 8; Amy Klobuchar, 7; Joe Biden, 6.

Next: Feb. 29. South Carolina


Just a note about why I count delegates on a total-to-date basis. I have created and continue to work on a detailed timeline for the 2016 election. I do this to be able to make certain points about that election, namely:

~ That Hillary Clinton was the consistent leader in delegates at any given time during the 2016 contest. She was, consistently, 200 to 300 delegates ahead of Sanders at nearly every snapshot you can take of that primary. Had the Democratic Convention used a plurality rather than a majority to cast its nominee, and had all the superdelegates been punched in the nuts, Hillary Clinton still would have clinched the nomination easily.
~ That, due to this, Bernie Sanders’ continued presence in the race after, say, May 2016, sapped resources from the presumed nominee; that his persistent invective regarding the process itself was harmful–in fact, in early May, Sanders called for a contested convention, at a time when he was literally 300 delegates behind.
~ That the notion that the DNC had it in for Bernie Sanders in 2016 is overblown and inaccurate. The most offensive DNC emails were from a time when Hillary Clinton should have been taking her rightful place as the presumptive nominee (the Republicans had their nominee installed by May 26; Sanders did not concede until July 6).

You might get the impression that I am not enamored with Bernie Sanders. I’m more of a Liz Warren gal myself.

However, the way I analyze it, I have what could be an effective voting position. New York votes April 26, and we award 274 pledged delegates. My pledge is that, if a ballot arrives in New York that offers a clear front-runner in delegates, I will vote for that candidate. If there’s no clear front-runner, I’ll vote my conscience.

So. I count delegates. And Sanders has a tidy lead currently.

Let’s see what happens in March.

Defending Pelosi

One thing you learn when you’re a lifelong Democrat: The phrase “gun control” can also apply to people who like to take the safety off, aim directly at their little piggies, and full-on open fire, then sit there laughing and pointing at the spurting blood.

Democrats are like that.

I have read reports today that there are as many as 18 Congress-critters who won’t vote to renew Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, 12th District, California) as Speaker. This is so woefully stupid it should be in a Star Wars prequel.

I have researched and will continue to do so, but I have yet to find one of these mouth-breathers who have offered a significant reason short of personality politics for their opposition. They do not indicate displeasure with the Speaker’s legislative record. They do not point out any particular legislative failure. There is a vague notion that “new blood” is needed, that a “new voice” should be offered the gavel.

Now. Are you ready for the stupid part?

They don’t have a candidate.

A few have talked about running for the job. None have come directly forward and said they intend to seek it. There is a letter of intent from a bunch of these idiots saying they won’t vote for her. This is supposed to “scare” Pelosi into not running.

I am not making this up.

I have a friend who said he didn’t like that Pelosi answered a question by saying that she um, wanted to work together with the preznit. Yeah, um, that’s not what the broad actually said. Ahem:

In terms of working with the President, I just would say that I worked very productively with President Bush when we had the majority and he had the presidency. We passed one of the biggest energy bills in the history of our country. We passed one of the biggest tax bills in terms of stimulus for low-income people as well as middle-income people in his presidency. And the list goes on. PEPFAR*, he wanted PEPFAR*, we won it big, and there are so many issues we worked with together with him but ultimately opposed him on the war in Iraq.

But the point is is that we worked together. The President (Trump) said we’ll wait for them to send me something. Well, we have ideas, and we can send him something, but the fact is we’d like to work together so our legislation will be bipartisan. We’re not going for the lowest common denominator, we are going for the boldest common denominator. Our position will be a consensus within our own party of what we can support while also welcoming other ideas.

*President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

This was not a capitulation to the Great Orange ID of Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a challenge. And it did not address oversight; she contained her remarks to legislation. She specifically, and correctly, criticized Trump’s approach to law-making and indicated that his nonsense approach would end in the next session. This was not Kumbaya. It was Twisted Fucking Sister.

Nancy Pelosi ushered passage of the Affordable Care Act in the House, and guess what? The House version included a public option. She marshalled through the Lily Ledbetter Act, which directly addressed income inequality. Dodd-Frank. Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.

(Credit due: I am cribbing directly from Sarah Wood.)

I will continue with this list now that you know who I’m cheating off of:

Increased transparency required for credit card vultures. More money for Pell grants. Greater FDA authority over tobacco and food safety. The first minimum wage increase since 2009. Hate crimes, now a thing the federal government can enforce. The Office of Congressional Ethics. The DREAM Act (which floundered in the Senate). An extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Blah blah blah blah blah.

And yet, the following Congress-critters say they’re voting “no,” and, as far as I can tell, there is no more specific reason than that they don’t want Pelosi’s stink on them. Tim Ryan. Seth Moulton. Kathleen Rice. Ed Perlmutter. Kurt Schrader. Filemon Vela Jr.. Marcia Fudge. Bill Foster. Brian Higgins.

See, I don’t think my own Senator, Chuck Schumer should be re-hired as minority leader. But I can tell you why. President Obama concluded one of his greatest foreign policy triumphs (in my humble opinion), the very good Iran disarmament deal, and Schumer chose to use it as a hanky. I think this belies bad judgement, and there are a whole lot of folks I think can represent the ranking side in the Senate much better.

I am not seeing such details regarding opposition to Pelosi, who can now add to her list of accomplishments the greatest margin of win in the House since I didn’t have hairy legs. This is not the time to test a new speaker. This is the time to allow Rep. Pelosi to utilize her accumulated political capital to start setting shit right again.

And, oh, hey. Charles Pierce has a neat idea. Instead of ousting the Speaker? Replace the Whip.