Friday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Clinton lawyer charged with lying to FBI during Trump-Russia inquiry

    An attorney who represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was indicted on Thursday for lying to the FBI.

    The development was part of special counsel John Durham’s ongoing examination of the origins of the FBI’s investigation into ties between Russia and former US president Donald Trump’s election campaign.

    Michael Sussmann, a partner with Perkins Coie who also represented the Democratic National Committee in connection with Russia’s hack of the organization, is accused of making false statements during a 19 September 2016, meeting with the then FBI general counsel, James Baker.

    I’m gonna make a prediction that after making headlines today, this just quietly disappears.

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  2. Kylopod says:

    It’s occurred to me over the past few months–but especially in light of this week’s recall election–that Republicans have completely forgotten how to get their party elected in blue states. And a lot of it has to do with Trump’s influence. Their habit of choosing candidates too extreme for a state isn’t new (think Christine O’Donnell in 2010), but as late as 2016 they got non-incumbent Republicans elected governor in Vermont and NH. But it seems that in the Trump era they’ve increasingly abandoned the model of nominating anti-Trump moderates–and then they’re surprised when their Trumpy choices don’t gain any traction in those states.

    They’re already setting themselves up for defeat in the 2022 NY governor’s race, for example–and while you may think that’s a trivial point and they never had a chance in that race, there was a period prior to Cuomo’s resignation when there was a real possibility the Dems would end up with a badly damaged nominee or a badly divided party due to the scandal. Even if you still never thought it was likely the Dems would lose the governorship, it at least stood a chance of hurting the party downballot. And what were Republicans doing while this was all going on? Rallying around very Trumpy Congressman Lee Zeldin.

    What are the implications of this going into 2022? I think it greatly limits their capacity for making gains in Congress. They may flip one or both chambers, mostly because the Dem majorities are so razor-thin, but I doubt we’ll see anything close to a 2010-level wave. For one thing, in 2010 there were a lot of Dems in red districts. Today, there are just seven. For the GOP to make large gains in the House, they have to win in a lot of Biden districts. All signs suggest they are poorly equipped for that task.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Latvia: Europe’s Nation of Introverts

    Maybe I’m a closet Latvian.

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  4. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Why dou you think it will disappear?

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  5. Scott says:

    US troops are still in Syria and nobody can give a good answer as to why

    The roughly 900 U.S. troops who are currently deployed to Syria are mostly invisible to Congress, the media, and the American public.

    Syria is just the latest forgotten battlefield in the Global War on Terrorism. The troops who went there have succeeded in destroying the Islamic State group’s former caliphate, but ISIS fighters are waging the type of insurgency that the American military has a bad track record of defeating.

    For the time being, American forces are keeping a lid on the situation and protecting their Kurdish allies from Turkey, who considers them terrorists. But the mission is stuck in neutral. There seem to be no prospects for victory on the horizon but a withdrawal could be catastrophic for the Kurds.

    Another example of being in a regional, ethnic, and religious conflict where Americans don’t understand the terrain and just bumble around spending blood and treasure.

    As an aside, Joe Biden once proposed that Iraq be split into three countries, one of which would be a “Kurdistan”. I wonder if he still holds to that idea.

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  6. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Especially if they keep on driving out the remotely sane candidates:

    http://www.thebulwark.com/dark-omen-in-rep-anthony-gonzalezs-retirement/

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  7. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I’d like to know, too.

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  8. JohnSF says:

    @Scott:
    Iraq is split: if you imagine the writ of the government in Baghdad runs in Iraqi Kurdistan, you’re mistaken.
    Both sides pretend it’s still part of Iraq, but to all intents and purposes it’s an independent state.
    Everyone pretends it’s not to avoid annoying the Turks (and also Iran).

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  9. Han says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: So they’re going to indict the (now former) FBI guy that lied to his colleagues about Nassar, right?

    @Kylopod:

    (think Christine O’Donnell in 2010)

    A witch!!!

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  10. Kathy says:

    The Starbucks app for Mexico went from having problems to completely useless over the past two weeks.

    First, I couldn’t transfer money from the default credit card to the account to pay with the app, which is essential both for ordering ahead for pickup and to accumulate rewards points (which is the purpose of the app after all).

    Second, I tried using a different card, and every attempt ended in an error message that “apparently something has gone wrong.”

    Next I had to go to the store and add money at the register and place an order. It was ok, as there was only one customer inside at the time. But while I got my coffee, the app didn’t register the increased balance.

    Finally, the app often logs me out after several days. I tried to log back in and “apparently something has gone wrong.” I tried several times. I reinstalled the app, I cleared the cache, I tried it on my personal phone, I tried praying to Athena and Demeter, and all I got was “apparently something has gone wrong.”

    If I were going to pay at the counter and not get rewards points for free coffee in the future, there are places a lot better than Starbucks where I could go.

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  11. Jen says:

    Conservative loon Laura Loomer, who not that long ago said food poisoning was far more dangerous than covid, now has a bad case of covid.

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  12. DAllenABQ says:

    I have some thoughts about the recent discussions regarding the actions of CJOS Milley. In my estimation Gen. Milley did the right thing, and his actions did not rise to the level of insubordination. His conversations with his Chinese counterpart were unusual in circumstance, but otherwise utterly normal, and his insistence on being in the loop about nuclear strike decision-making was prudent, especially where the unconventional whims and prerogatives of Mr. Trump in the twilight of his Presidency were concerned. I believe the man will be well regarded by history.

    Mr. Reynolds has written often, convincingly, about how liberals can be illiberal in their treatment of conservative folk. But it is strange how his invocation of the Col. von Stauffenberg model to criticize Drs. Taylor and Joyner serves to support the illiberal treatment of conservative folk that he decries.

    I am married to a wonderful woman who I believe is similarly situated to Drs. Taylor and Joyner in their respective politics. She still adheres, strongly, to traditional conservative precepts of limited government, that less regulation is better as a matter of principle though not always in practice, and local control is better than top-down government diktat. But she is utterly homeless in the current iteration of the Republican Party in 2021. There has got to be a better way of communing with these homeless than invoking the black and white realities faced by the good Col. von Stauffenberg in 1944.

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  13. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I don’t know which verses are more applicable to such people. These:

    Instant karma’s gonna get you
    Gonna knock you right on the head
    You better get yourself together
    Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead

    Or these:

    Instant karma’s gonna get you
    Gonna look you right in the face
    Better get yourself together darlin’
    Join the human race

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  14. inhumans99 says:

    @MarkedMan:
    While I obviously cannot speak for Ozark, it is all there in the story in that it seems like this is a total nothingburger, especially in light of the ethical breaches by the Trump and those in his orbit. Basically, a Clinton official may not have disclosed that they had business interest at the time that would be considered a conflict of interest, but I see nothing in the story that would prove the FBI investigation was a “Witch Hunt” only put into motion because of lies by Clinton and other Democrats.

    It is like DeSantis and Trump having ties to the folks behind the monoclonal treatment for Covid, or the Hydrox pushers, Trump and DeSantis chose not to be honest about their conflict of interest so as to continue to shill for these things and financially benefit.

    It just feels like that is what irked the FBI, the lack of disclosure from this guy and others whose names came up during the Russia investigation, not that his lying left out information that would cause them to have to invalidate the results of the investigation.

    I don’t know, I could be talking out of my rear end, but I am also numb to Trump crying wolf (or make that Witch Hunt) during every investigation into his actions during his time as President, so if Trump wants to be Trump he can start back up on telling his base that this proves it was all a witch hunt, as nothing I say will convince Trump otherwise.

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  15. CSK says:

    Trump told Fox News that he may be forced to run in 2024 in order to save the country.

    What a martyr.

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  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DAllenABQ:
    I invoke black and white to clarify an issue, to pare it down to its skeleton. I think differently than many people, probably because I have no formal education. I look for a solution to a posed problem, which seems obvious enough, but I do it without reference to right or wrong, and focus on works/doesn’t work. Having found the solution, I then go back and consider the right or wrong or the popularity or feasibility of my solution.

    I find most people do this differently. When searching for a solution they clog their process up with a lot of ‘what will people think?’ and ‘am I out of the mainstream?’ and ‘what would Jesus do?’ and ‘how would this affect my bottom line?’ I think that’s a mistake. I think you start by finding that 1+1=2 and only then begin to muddy the issue with additional questions.

    When explaining my solution to the posed problem, I look for analogies. The question posed – as I saw it – was this: are there times when chain-of-command issues (which I take very seriously) are less important than other issues? Could I find an example that would be sufficiently familiar that I wouldn’t have to start with a history lesson. Something most people could access. Von Stauffenberg fit the bill. Von S demonstrated that yes, in some circumstances, chain-of-command must be disobeyed. (Rather an understated way to describe planting a bomb.) The next day I was reminded of the Petrov example, and added that to the pile.

    The counter-argument, that there’s already an opt-out for clearly illegal orders, was obvious nonsense in this context. There was no alternative safeguard, we had no alternative to relying on a decent man making the right call. That man was General Milley.

    If I were mathematically inclined I could write it out as a formula. If we assume that the reporting was essentially correct, the potential threat to human life? 10 out of 10. The potential damage of a general officer violating the process? Call it 4 out of 10, but all downstream, not emergent. In this situation was Milley’s action reasonable? IMO, yes. Did he take action in the least disruptive way available? I think yes.

    Other people discounted the threat to humanity, and accentuated the threat to military discipline and non-political tradition. That’s the essence of the disagreement. In considering counter-arguments to my position I added an element of personal observation: conservatives don’t do imagination. Paranoia, yes, but not imagination. OTOH, I’m a fiction writer, so I’m obviously inclined to lean into imagination, and that can lead me into my own error. But I concluded that the reason Joyner and Taylor didn’t see it the same way was that they had heavily discounted the threat of war, which I believe to be a failure of imagination.

    In the end it came down to this: was it possible that Trump would start a war to save himself? I’d argue that question was answered on January 6. So, yes, Trump was sufficiently deranged to start a war, there were no effective safeguards in place, and as the potential destruction that would follow such a decision to start a war was a 10 out of 10, drastic action was justified. Thankfully General Milley took that action.

    Now, if there’s any part of this that is illogical or unsupportable, I’d be happy to have someone point it out.

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  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: My wife and I have a friend of many years. She has a habit of speaking in absolutes. When we both had young children, she talked about her decision to quit her job and be a stay at home Mom. She spoke passionately and with certainty about the damage to children whose mother worked, and since my wife was continuing to work (and was the primary breadwinner until I got my business off the ground), my wife felt horribly attacked. There was never any possibility of an exchange of views, and certainly no chance that anything she said would change my wife’s views because from her point of view the only relevant thing was the attack. (From my point of view, I just thought she was the type of person who had to have everything in dramatic absolutes. I thought she was wrong but not attacking, rather she had to make her arguments out loud in order to reinforce herself in her thinking.)

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  18. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Well, your wife probably felt–with considerable justification–as if she were being attacked. You were one step removed.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: On first reading, it seems pretty weak. There may be more out there, but they’ll have to show more than notes transcribed after the meeting with FBI general counsel, James Baker. According to the article, Baker says Sussman “falsely telling Baker that he did not represent any client when he met him ” but according to NPR his lawyers say Baker asked if “he was there at the behest of a client” May seem like a small difference in wording but I suspect a good lawyer could drive a semi thru it.

    And speaking of lawyers, we’re talking about a high powered lawyer, well versed in the ways of DC and with the pockets* to pay for defense attorneys the rest of us can only dream of.

    *that’s plural on purpose, not just his but the DNC and HRC’s campaign are invoked as well

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  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “I’m gonna make a prediction that after making headlines today, this just quietly disappears everywhere except Newsmax and OANN.” FTFY. (Maybe some of the Faux News sideshow program hosts will harp on it, too.)

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  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Han: So they’re going to indict the (now former) FBI guy that lied to his colleagues about Nassar, right?

    Don’t know anything more of that than the headlines a quick google pulled up.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Maybe, but his name isn’t Hillary, or Pelosi, or AOC. They might lose interest in less than 5 minutes on that basis alone.

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  23. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s pretty appalling. They went into this in an interview on the PBS News hour last night.

    The agent has been fired, but he absolutely should be prosecuted.

    FBI fires agent who failed to pursue tips about sex abuse by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar

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  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DAllenABQ: As one of those homeless, may I suggest that as she becomes comfortable with her status, she will begin to accept that just like in the physical world, the ideologically homeless are ignored as much as possible, but with significantly less tangible impact on their lives. It’s a small comfort, I know, but it’s not the equivalent of having to live under a tarp next to a freeway overpass by a long shot.

    I suppose that were ideological homelessness to become as ubiquitous as physical homelessness, that might cause some problems for the political establishment, but still not problems that can’t be blamed on the homeless themselves rather than their situation. As long as the revolution doesn’t get televised, all will be well… enough.

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  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Talk about the cure being worse than the disease. [sigh]

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  26. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Okay, the FBI, the Olympics Committee, and USA Gymnastics conspired to
    suppress the Nassar investigation.

    Why? In God’s name, why? Were they that eager to save Nassar? Why?

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  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can see that. Particularly if this isn’t a “he lied for Hillary/Pelosi” type thing. The extent to which either can be tarred with this brush makes a distraction from the real world that is part of the whole appeal. My mom liked people who were telling her the “real important things” not just what was going on in the world. She passed before OANN, but if she were still here, it would be her go to source just for the name alone.

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  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: You protect your own. The athletes are just tools in the process. They’ll be gone, but Nassar will still be with you.

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  29. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Sure, but he’s just one lousy (take that however you like) doctor. He’s infinitely replaceable. Simone Biles is one-of-a-kind.

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  30. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I have friends who are gloomily convinced Trump will run, and that he might well win. The latter doesn’t seem possible to me, but perhaps I don’t want to believe it.

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  31. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Han:

    So they’re going to indict the (now former) FBI guy that lied to his colleagues about Nassar, right?

    Considering that the FBI director stated that it was a horrible thing that the agent did…
    And 4 of the young women just testified before congress yesterday…
    And this is a crime nobody can defend…
    And we’re heading into an election year…

    I’m thinking a few heads will roll. Mostly the low-hanging fruit like a former FBI agent.

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  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A far more knowledgeable 14 tweet take by Ken White:

    OwMyPopehat
    @Popehat

    Let’s discuss the indictment of Michael Sussman, attorney for Democratic influences, by Trump/Barr-appointed Special Counsel John Durham.

    A dominant discussion will be whether this prosecution is “political.”

    Long story short, he is skeptical too and not for just the low hanging fruit I picked off:

    OwMyPopehat
    @Popehat

    /8 However, there are distinctly odd things about this indictment that take it outside the norm. First: it’s based on a face-to-face oral statement with one government witness, Baker. I don’t recall seeing another 1001 case like that.

    Go read the whole but either way, I still think money walks and shit talks.

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  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Maybe it wasn’t Nassar they were protecting. Maybe it was their own asses (Olympics and USA Gymnastics) hanging out in the breeze.

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  34. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    I have friends who are gloomily convinced Trump will run, and that he might well win.

    I’m somewhat in that camp. I lean toward thinking he won’t run in the end (he’s going to be teasing it for as long as he can manage), but I definitely think that if he does run, he’ll be the overwhelming favorite to win the nomination. And if he does win the nomination, then it’s 50/50 that he wins in the general. I’m not being a doomsayer. I’m not saying Biden or Harris or whoever is the Dem nominee in 2024 is necessarily weak. I’m saying it’s just so far in the future there’s no way for us to know how strong a position Dems will be in by then.

    It’s not just about Trump–I’d give 50/50 to the Dems in 2024 regardless of who the GOP nominee is. There are just too many unknowns. But I just don’t see Trump’s grip on the GOP going way anytime soon. If he doesn’t run, it’ll become a contest on who can get his endorsement. If he dies, it’ll be a contest on who’s the strongest heir apparent, or who has a more direct line to the Prophet.

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  35. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Yes, but protecting themselves from what? They could have investigated Nassar, canned him, turned him over to the authorities, and come out smelling like roses.

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  36. Han says:

    @CSK: I can see the Olympics Committee and USA Gymnastics believing it was the best way to control negative publicity. I think they were idiots for believing that, and I think they were for putting their organizations above the athletes. The FBI guy I don’t get at all.

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  37. Han says:

    @Mu Yixiao: At this point, I’ll take some low-hanging fruit. It’s at least a start.

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  38. CSK says:

    @Han:
    I know. It doesn’t make sense. What was in it for the FBI?

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  39. Jen says:

    @CSK:

    Why? In God’s name, why? Were they that eager to save Nassar? Why?

    Not Nassar, but the program. As ever, follow the money.

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  40. Jen says:

    @CSK: FBI guy talks to both sides. On one side, there’s a powerful Olympic committee, a long-standing team doctor, and USA Gymnastics. On the other side, a few teen girls. I absolutely think there’s some latent bias that slips in here…who to believe? Eh, these girls, they’re probably blowing this out of proportion. Why would USA Gymnastics lie to me? This doc’s been around for a long time, why hasn’t anyone said anything up until now? Etc.

    The FBI guy doesn’t realize the circular logic he’s just deployed: that the ENTIRE REASON others haven’t come forward is that they were afraid of speaking up and having it all shoved under a rug, thus damaging their potential future earnings and reputation for nothing.

    I hope proverbial heads roll. This sickens me.

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  41. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: Loomer says she’s in a lot of pain with her bad covid.

    Pretty sure if it was really bad all we would hear are the beeps of monitors and maybe some patriotic gurgling sounds around the intubation tube.

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  42. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Even with my IANAL brain, it seemed weak. But then why did it go forward at all?

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  43. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: Can Trump grift more as a candidate or as some cranky old guy sitting on the terlet in Florida. That’s the only question that matters.

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  44. KM says:

    @Jen:
    I think you’re being too kind when you say the FBI agents didn’t realize the circular logic involved. Plenty of people knowingly use tautologies specifically because they result in “rational” scenarios where the little guy accusing the PTB is always in the wrong. There are quite a few people in law enforcement with the mentality that the accuser is usually the problem or trying to cause problems for the good, law-abiding façade the perpetrator established and that false accusations far outweigh any “real” crimes or the consequences of holding someone accountable. Add in the huge bias towards women accusing men of sexual misconduct and bitches be lyin’ comes into play for a lot of them as the default. They’ll sell it to themselves as “innocent until proven guilty” but really the default is almost always woman accuser against powerful man is making things up.

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  45. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    It is profoundly sickening.

    Have we not gone beyond the point of disbelieving teenagers who report sexual abuse? (Especially when there are 330 of them.) I can see this happening when I was young, and I know it did, though not to me. But within the past decade?

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  46. Scott says:

    @CSK: @Kylopod: I see Trump running because of his ego and delusion. I see him winning because that is where this country is heading.

    You all try to think rationally and try to come to rational conclusions. We are not that country anymore.

    And I’m afraid for it.

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  47. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    It would be a historic first:

    the only person ever in the history of the world who has held a position for 4 years, and still lacks the minimum experience necessary to hold that position.

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  48. dazedandconfused says:

    @Scott:
    https://www.voanews.com/a/extremism-watch_voa-exclusive-inside-us-military-base-syria/6207951.html

    I would add that the Syrians aren’t bitching about it is telling.

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  49. Jax says:

    Sigh. So I took my oldest in for a COVID test the next morning after she got a stuffy nose and headache, the clinic test said negative for COVID.

    They just got the state results back, and she is POSITIVE for COVID. She freakin went back to school yesterday cuz she’s feeling better and didn’t want to miss all the Homecoming activities. Christ, what a mess!!!

    On the plus side, despite it being a breakthrough case, it’s obviously a mild case, THANKS TO VACCINES!!! I was terrified of her getting it because of her respiratory issues, and it’s been mild enough she hasn’t even had to have a breathing treatment or use her inhaler any more than she normally does.

    None of the rest of us are showing symptoms. I thought maybe I was getting it the day after her because my nose got a little stuffy, but it was gone by the next morning.

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  50. Mikey says:

    Experts Advising FDA Vote Against Pfizer COVID Booster

    In a preliminary vote, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended against approval of a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 years and older.

    The meeting is continuing and there may be another vote on boosters for a limited age group.

    The rise of the highly infectious delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and some evidence that the Pfizer vaccine’s protection wanes against infections with time are two of the factors that were cited in support of a booster.
    […]
    But presentations Friday generally showed the vaccine was still effective in protecting immunized people against severe illness, hospitalization and death in the U.S.

    OK, fine, but:

    Separately, however, an analysis published Friday in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that the Pfizer vaccine’s protection against hospitalization with COVID-19 dropped from 91% during the 120 days after vaccination to 77% later than that.

    Fuck this bullshit. I don’t want 77% protection against hospitalization. I don’t just want protection against “severe illness, hospitalization, and death,” I don’t want any more than a miniscule chance of getting this fucking thing AT ALL. And if a booster is what it takes to get back there, I want the fucking booster tomorrow. And I want my wife with high blood pressure who drives a school bus filled with 50 unvaccinated 10-year-olds to get the fucking booster now.

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  51. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    And I’m afraid you’re right.

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  52. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But then why did it go forward at all?

    It came out of the Durham investigation. And it may be all he’s got. Which reminds me, anything heard from the Fraudit.

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  53. DAllenABQ says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: She may be homeless but she is fighting to get the house back. The good wife is quite the local political pundit here in New Mexico; she is a regular panelist on the weekly PBS show “New Mexico in Focus”, she is a frequent guest and sometimes the guest host on the State’s largest talk radio station, KKOB, and she has a weekly column in a local independent newspaper.

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  54. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    After he was in office for four years, Trump’s lawyers had to explain to him how the Supreme Court works. You don’t just go to them on Wednesday and they overturn te election in Thursday, for example, which is apparently what he assumed.

    The scary thing is how many people who should know better believe, or claim to believe, Trump’s version of reality.

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  55. CSK says:

    A never-published and forgotten shorty story by Tennessee Williams, entitled “The Summer Woman,” has been found in the Houghton Library at Harvard.

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  56. Jen says:

    France has just recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia in protest over the nuke sub deal (Australia canceled a big submarine order it had with France).

    Is this normal? It feels like recalling ambassadors used to be a REALLY big deal, and this is a tiny bit unnerving.

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  57. Mister Bluster says:

    Pentagon Reverses Itself And Now Says Deadly Kabul Drone Strike Was An Error
    “I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children, were tragically killed in that strike,” McKenzie said. “Moreover, we now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K, or a direct threat to U.S. forces,”

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  58. JohnSF says:

    International news people may have missed.
    Yet another ballistic missile test in Korea; but NOT by the usual guys:
    South Korea test fires a submarine launched ballistic missile.

    Also in matter submarine: France is extremely peeved about the Australians scrapping a deal for French submarines for a deal with US/UK (details of which remain sketchy).

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  59. JohnSF says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    …Syrians aren’t bitching about it…

    Because it gives them a backstop against an IS comeback, and (perhaps even more) discourages Turkey from invading to crush the Kurds.

    And given the convoluted nature of such things, probably also provideds Damascus with a incentivizer to persuade Iran and Russia to continue support at a minimal diplomatic price.

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  60. Kathy says:

    Odd idea: curry and ginger risotto, perhaps with some coconut milk.

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  61. JohnSF says:

    @Jen:

    Is this normal?

    Nope. But…
    – French elections next spring; national assertion never a bad thing in French politics, and related:
    – Armaments deals are very important to France sustaining it’s capacity for the defence infrastructure required by a Power (also the case for the UK); and their Aussie sub deal only reconfirmed about a month ago.
    – A lot of Europeans were upset by President Biden’s lack of consultation or even communication over Afghanistan; now it happens again
    – Calls for European strategic autonomy probably aimed at Berlin, who were very alarmed by Biden cutting NATO out of the loop in Afghanistan
    – France considers itself to have important interests in the SW Pacific and Indian Ocean.
    (Recently sold a package of 40 Rafale air superiority fighters to India; believe to be eyeing other naval deals in the region)

    “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do,” foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told franceinfo radio. “I am angry and and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.”

    Oh, and alignment with UK prob. doesn’t help feelings: we aren’t exactly flavour of the month in Paris right now, re. various issues (Brexit/Ireland, Channel migrants, etc)

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  62. Joe says:

    @Han:

    I can see the Olympics Committee and USA Gymnastics believing it was the best way to control negative publicity. I think they were idiots for believing that, and I think they were for putting their organizations above the athletes.

    I have a synod full of bishops here waiting to discuss that strategy with them.

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  63. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Sounds pretty close to a South Indian variation on a biryani

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  64. flat earth luddite says:

    @Han:
    @KM:

    Mindset from people I’ve known in LE:

    perps always lie
    people I’m questioning always lie
    witnesses always lie, especially if they’re CLANG…
    no sense going after the rich guy, he’ll walk

    @CSK:
    See above. Girls/women/witnesses vs powerful dude with organizational muscle. Nah, they must be lying. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

    Side comment. Nassar must have REALLY good protection, usually the lifers get to a “baby raper” long before now.

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  65. Barry says:

    @CSK: “Why? In God’s name, why? Were they that eager to save Nassar? Why?”

    Well, he was one of them.

    Also, maybe he knew a lot of stuff……….

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  66. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Honestly, reviewing the evidence, I don’t think Milley took any unprecedented, or even unusual action in terms of the China call, which has gotten the most attention.
    It looks like Woodward was presenting that matter out of context, when it was a fairly routine, coordinated, recorded, contact between senior military officials.
    a.k.a.”confidence building contacts”, to avoid mistakes re. intentions, in accordance with standing instruction from the Secretary of Defence, which had not been countermanded by the Acting Secretary or the President.

    The point where there may be a little grey shade re. Defence Department routine is General Milley insisting he was in the chain 0f command for operational orders.
    But I suspect even that is completely justifiable procedurally if he had authority to do so from the outgoing Secretary of Defence.

    And, of course, fully justifiably ethically.

    A strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means.

    Thomas Jefferson

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  67. dazedandconfused says:

    @JohnSF:

    The oil may have something to do with it too. The Kurds made a play for it. Having US troops on the oil, which they may be, discourages adventurism and from more entities than just the Kurds.

    As ridiculous as it may seem for the US to be protecting Assad’s oil, it may make sense for all parties at the moment. It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world.

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  68. EddieInCA says:

    @DAllenABQ:

    You wrote:

    I am married to a wonderful woman who I believe is similarly situated to Drs. Taylor and Joyner in their respective politics. She still adheres, strongly, to traditional conservative precepts of limited government, that less regulation is better as a matter of principle though not always in practice, and local control is better than top-down government diktat.

    I am genuinely curious how she can still hold those positions. Or rather, how does she rationalize those beliefs in the current environment? I used to hold those positions, and was a registered Republican until 1992. Pat Buchanan’s speech at the 1992 GOP convention caused me to register the next day as an Independent, where I stayed until I registered as a Dem in 1999.

    But the idea of “limited government” and “less regulation” seem to be nonsense word salad that doesn’t mean anything in the current environment. There is one party that wants to govern and one party that wants to burn it all down. It’s not shocking to me that intelligent people such as Dr. Joyner and Dr. Taylor have recently voted Dem; because the alternative is truly frightening in many cases. But it’s still shocking to me that others, like presumably your wife, still think the GOP is worth saving, or that it’s even possible to save it.

    So I’m curious as to how her beliefs affect her in the real world currently. I ask genuinely and respectfully, because I truly cannot wrap my brain around it.

    @MuYixiao leaves me with the same feeling way too often. Again, no disrespect intended.

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  69. JohnSF says:

    @dazedandconfused:
    Maybe.
    But the Kurds already control a sizable amount of oilfields in Iraq (enough to sustain their economy, at any rate)
    And effectively control the Syrian oil north-east of the Euphrates.
    IIRC that’s about half to 2/3 the total output.
    The small US presence hasn’t a hope of shaking the Kurdish control of the fields, seeing as the Kurds are key to the operational viability of the US presence.
    OTOH, the Kurds will take US wishes into account.
    They’re not fools. (And no longer dealing with a fool in Washington).

    Syrian oil output in global terms is small potatoes, but valuable to Syrian govt. which is somewhat strapped for cash. (Russian mercs don’t come free; or even cheap).
    The interesting thing is the potential for a Kurdish-Syrian deal: Kurds sit on a large chunk of the fields, but Damascus controls the pipeline outlets to the Med (though I think the pipe is still out of use after IS bombings).

    Turks might like the oil; but it would come at a price. Neither Kurds nor Syria would give it up easily.

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  70. Kathy says:

    Idaho is setting up Death Panels.

    But, thank god, they won’t institute an evil vaccine mandate that would have prevented taking such extreme measures.

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  71. Jax says:

    Soooo, after a long conversation with our local Public Health office, it’s become apparent that the State of Wyoming has given up on all pretense of controlling the spread of COVID. They are no longer attempting to contract trace or notify. Quarantine only applies to the person testing positive, not family members, and no family members are required to be tested….but it’s “recommended” if they start showing symptoms.

    May the odds be ever in our favor, Wyomingites! We’re on our own!

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  72. JohnSF says:

    @dazedandconfused:
    @JohnSF:
    Another point re. Syrian oil:
    IIRC Assad gave up exclusive development rights to the Russians (which was very generous of him, considering at the time IS controlled almost all the fields)
    After the Kurdish dominated SDF whipped IS east of the Euphrates, and the Syrian/Russian/Iranian/Hezbollah coalition did the same to the west, Russia apparently decided to try to make good on the deal.
    Leading to the Battle of Khasam, in which the Russians got their arses thoroughly chewed by the USAF and the Kurds. (At any rate, that’s the version I’ve heard is the true one, but *shrugs*)

    Too bad, Vlad. Maybe Assad can pay with American Express?

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  73. @DAllenABQ: Thanks for the comment. FWIW, my concerns about Milley (and my mind remains open as to final conclusions) were purely about civil-military relations and not really about the items you listed.

    @EddieInCA:

    There is one party that wants to govern and one party that wants to burn it all down. It’s not shocking to me that intelligent people such as Dr. Joyner and Dr. Taylor have recently voted Dem

    The governance thing is huge for me. I have been voting Democratic since 2008. A combination of seeing the lack of seriousness about government here in Alabama plus the post-invasion debacle in Iraq plus incompetence over Katrina plus Palin drove me well away from the GOP now well over a decade ago.

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  74. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    You should all try to get a third shot. For one thing, I don’t suppose there’s a shortage of vaccines in your area. For another, it can’t hurt.

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  75. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    FDA says no to third shots, except for those over 65.

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  76. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I just keep trying to stay positive. He’s old enough that he can die at any age. And traffic accidents happen to people that age more often than we realize. And maybe his people will discover that they like Cruz or Hawley better… no Cruz or Hawley would be worse. Gotta put that one out of mind. [takes cleansing breath]

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  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: What I’d want to hear is a single long beep until the monitor is unplugged, but I’m trying to be a better person, so I’ll slink away now.-

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  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “Have we not gone beyond the point of disbelieving teenagers who report sexual abuse? (Especially when there are 330 of them.)”

    One would hope so, but I see no particular evidence of it. And extreme numbers only increase the skepticism.

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  79. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I’ve thought about it. It’s not hard to get signed up. They even started the drive-thru vaccination clinics again.

    I am so, so relieved that we are already vaccinated, though. This is the kid that any kind of respiratory stuff puts her in the hospital. The fact that she’s not struggling to breathe, and my other daughter and I have been in the same house with her for the last 5 days with no symptoms to speak of yet is pretty….relieving.

    Side note, Public Health said most of the breakthrough cases have been “pediatric” Pfizer cases, and older people, regardless of which vaccine. Hardly any Moderna breakthrough cases under 65. Granted we’re a small sample, but that’s what they’re seeing. All we could get here, at first, was Moderna, so the first big rush of people who got it, got Moderna.

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  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DAllenABQ: I wish her good luck. I have no problems with a person with all of those elements to their credit not having a partisan home, but everyone should be comfortable with their situation whatever it may be.

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  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Sounds good. What would you pair it with?

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  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: I’m at the same basic point. “Limited government” and “reduced regulation” simply mean “I want my side to decide what size and what regulations government should have.” The highly partisan divide we have now has foreclosed on most good government practices to the extent that you either have to “hold your nose” when you vote, accept that most of what you government does will be better than nothing, or embrace the homelessness and watch in awe as people try to accomplish things, being grateful for what little they are able to accomplish. The next accomplishment won’t be infrastructure, it will be bringing the GQP back from the brink of trashing the global economy in mid-October.

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  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: An article that I just read yesterday indicated that getting a shot prematurely would be likely to be both ineffective and potentially disruptive to the immunity one already has. Sadly, this is from the same people who told us we didn’t need protective gear and masks because ERs and CCUs needed all the available supply (which was certainly true). I can’t predict how much weight the opinion will have (or it’s veracity for that matter 🙁 ).

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  84. DAllenABQ says:

    @EddieInCA: The quick and pithy answer to how she holds these positions is that she believes in them. She also believes the current Republican Party is light years away from what she holds as small c conservative values. She recognizes that (most of) one party wants to burn it all down, but she is not of that part, and she is stubborn enough to want to push back against her hijacked party.

    I perceive no disrespect from your fair questions, but I also ain’t got no real good answers.

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  85. EddieInCA says:

    @DAllenABQ:

    Thank you for the response. I’d love if Ms. DAllenABQ were a regular commenter on this site. We need more rational, sane, small “c” conservatives.

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  86. DAllenABQ says:

    @EddieInCA: @EddieInCA: Yes. Yes we do.

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  87. Zachriel says:

    @flat earth luddite: Mindset from people I’ve known in LE: people I’m questioning always lie

    Well, people often do lie. Consider a teenage witness to a serious assault at a teen hideaway: “Were you or others drinking?” The legal question is relevance. And for an investigator, the question is motive. Of course the kid is probably lying about the use of alcohol. That doesn’t mean the kid is lying about the assault. That doesn’t excuse misogynist assumptions in the Nassar investigation. There’s no reasonable motive for multiple girls to lie about Nassar, and a lot of motivation for Nassar and his associates to cover up any crimes. A closer look at the evidence based on reasonable suspicion would have uncovered the truth sooner rather than later, and prevented more damage to more victims.

    @OzarkHillbilly: According to the article, Baker says Sussman “falsely telling Baker that he did not represent any client when he met him ” but according to NPR his lawyers say Baker asked if “he was there at the behest of a client” May seem like a small difference in wording but I suspect a good lawyer could drive a semi thru it.

    No notes were taken of the meeting, which took place five years ago. And the difference in wording is crucial.

    Another issue is relevance. The indictment claims that the purported lie “deprived the FBI of information that might have permitted it more fully to assess and uncover the origins of the relevant data and technical analysis, including the identities and motivations of SUSSMANN’s clients.” Sussmann was a well-known attorney, and the FBI could certainly have surmised there was a political connection. Consequently, there is no reason the FBI could or should have been “deprived”. That would make any purported lie immaterial to the investigation. If the statement is not material, it’s not a crime.

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  88. Jonathon Moseley says:

    @Kylopod:

    Well of course those who argue for Democrats Pretending to be Republicans to be the Republican nominees have never learned anything (if they are being honest in the first place).

    What Republicans have NOT forgotten is that the only way for Republicans to win in blue states is to fly “bold colors, no pale pastels.”

    Republicans who try to be like Democrats always lose. Always. Why would anyone vote for an almost Democrat if they can just vote for the real thing?

    Why would anyone volunteer in an election campaign for a bland, worthless candidate who stands for nothing? What grandfather would choose walking a neighborhood for a candidate who doesn’t believe in anything over going fishing with his grandchildren.

    Squishy Republicans fail “the Grandfather test.” If you stand for nothing, why would a grandfather give up a Saturday hiking in the woods with his grandchildren to campaign for a squish?

    Republicans nominate the best possible candidates to win, and then the Democrats-at-heart Republicans sabotage the Republican nominee.

    “Strong conservatives can’t win. Here watch while I stab the GOP nominee in the back repeatedly to prove that I was right. They can’t win because we in the squish wing of the GOP will make sure of it.”

    Let’s take my old friend Christine O’Donnell.

    The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate BEFORE Christine LOST by a 41% margin. He didn’t receive 41%. He lost by a MARGIN of 41%.

    The Republican nominee AFTER Christine who ran for U.S. Senate from Delaware lost by a 37% MARGIN. THat’s a MARGIN of 37% loss.

    Christine O’Donnell lost by a 16% margin and change to Chris Coons.

    So the “evidence” for unelectable candidates is an attractive young woman who did
    BETTER
    than any other Republican in Delaware for U.S. Senate since Bill Roth.

    I think “you” (the liberal wing of the GOP) just lost your case.

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  89. Moseley A Jonathon says:

    By the way notice, what the liberal wing of the GOP is arguing.

    They want a Republican nominee who is no different than the Democrat nominee.

    They want to get people to volunteer on Saturday mornings for a candidate
    ONLY
    because he or she is a Republican

    even though what he or she stands for is no different than the Democrat nominee.

    They are literally arguing for candidates simply because one has an “R” after their name instead of a “D.”

    WHY BOTHER?

    Why should we try to elect a Republican who is no different from the Democrat?

    For what reason?

    “Would you volunteer for our R candidate who is no different from the D candidate?

    WHY? Why would I want to do that?

    Just so the winner has an “R” after his or her name?

    Are you kidding me?

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  90. Kylopod says:

    @Jonathon Moseley:

    What Republicans have NOT forgotten is that the only way for Republicans to win in blue states is to fly “bold colors, no pale pastels.”

    What planet are you on? Virtually all Republicans who win in blue states have been moderates relative to the national party–Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlie Baker, Phil Scott, Larry Hogan, Mark Kirk, Scott Brown, Susan Collins.

    So the “evidence” for unelectable candidates is an attractive young woman who did
    BETTER
    than any other Republican in Delaware for U.S. Senate since Bill Roth.

    The candidate whom Christine O’Donnell beat in the Republican primary was Mike Castle, the sitting at-large Congressman for Delaware. Delawareans had elected him 10 times as Congressman–by a 23-point margin in his last election, in 2008, not exactly a strong cycle for Republicans nationally–and that was following two terms as governor. So what are you on about O’Donnell being the best Republican candidate in Delaware? That simply does not fit with the facts.

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