Saturday Forum

Have at it.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Thinking about Joe’s choice for VP.

    Criteria: Meets 2 of the following: A woman, Can attract votes in a contested state/region, AA or Hispanic/Latino(a) – (I refuse to use Latinx)

    Amy jumps out as a possible as she would lock down Minnesota and draw votes in Wisconsin and Iowa. Plus she’s not a bad campaigner and would be a believable Prez if…

    Booker; only meets one criteria as NJ is a lock for the Dems.

    Harris; meets 2 of the criteria, but Cali is a lock, she’s a terrible campaigner and given the tepid support she received from AA voters in the opinion polls, I’m not sure she will be helpful in contested states.

    Stacy Abrams’ name keeps being bandied about. I’ll admit that I know little about her beyond she was the minority leader in the Georgia House, is reliably liberal and lost (possibly had stolen) the gubernatorial election. She is AA and could put Georgia into play, but wouldn’t lock it down. But is her background really much better preparation for the presidency than mayor Pete’s?

    It seems to me that Joe (or Bernie) given age, needs a VP that people can imagine being president, not a Dan Quayle.

    Julian Castro: Hispanic, but Texas won’t be in play in 2020.

    Anyone have suggestions for a possible from North Carolina?

    Maggie Hassen; NH junior Senator, would likely deliver NH, though only 4 electoral votes. Respected by political insiders, but not well known beyond northern New England, which is likely to be Biden country anyway.


  2. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    This is a side issue from your comment, to be sure, but in a survey I read fairly recently, only 2% of Hispanics/Latinos/Latinas wanted to be addressed as Latinx. The rest thought the locution was idiotic.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You don’t mention Warren, who comes from a solid blue state, but who may well be bargaining with Biden for the Veep pick.

    Much as I’d love to see Stacey Abrams on the national stage, no. Trumpsky is doing a fine job of generating negative partisanship. If we’re going to go with the safe choice of Biden, let’s go vanilla all the way and not trigger any negative partisanship against our side.

    Biden’s probably still looking at a long list, many of whom aren’t on our radar.

  4. Bill says:

    I’m asking for some computer help.

    For my web browsing I use Firefox. I also have adblocker. A great many many news websites, Wash Post and Miami Herald to name just two, won’t allow me to read stories because of it. Is there any way around this?

    A few months ago something at the Herald would hijack my browser and the only way to get out was to turn off my computer. That happened a few times but not in about two months. Still I wouldn’t trust the MH website without Ad blocker based on this experience.

    Thanks for any advice but keep it simple if you can. I am not that computer savvy.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Spanish speakers would think that. The ‘a’ or ‘o’ suffix is natural to them, leaving it out would be as unnatural and awkward as us leaving out the possessive ‘s’.

  6. Teve says:

    @Bill: I run an app called Adblock Focus, and I can see the Miami Herald site just fine. Also, if you want to subscribe, for the first two months it’s $.99 a month and then it goes to $16 a month.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Subscribing is the only way I know of.

  8. Bill says:


    I run an app called Adblock Focus, and I can see the Miami Herald site just fine.

    Thanks, but I should have also mentioned I do all my webrowsing on PC not cell phones etc etc.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:


    I didn’t mention Warren as I’d rather see her as Treasury Secretary.

  10. Kit says:

    @Bill: You can try:
    1) clearing your browser cache, which might help with the crashes;
    2) browsing in private mode, which clears the cache of that site upon closing the browser tab;
    3) adding certain sites to the white list of your ad blocker;
    4) using Reader View (not sure what it will be called in your case), to see a page without ads (they will still be loaded);
    5) use a different browser that can better protect against malware.

    There’s no silver bullet, I’m afraid.

  11. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Latinx has the advantages of:
    – Sounding like Kleenex has a new product aimed at Latinos
    – Suggesting Malcolm X
    – Suggesting a Hispanic team of Marvel’s mutant franchise

    I kind of like it for the sheer awfulness of it.

    Latinx — finally a tissue strong enough for your machismo.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: IF (and I’m not at all sure I’d want her there as opposed to the Senate) she were in an administration, I’d want her in a position that maximizes the sweat factor of the corrupt rich (but I repeat myself). Say, maybe the head of the SEC.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    My father-in-law shuffled off this mortal coil this morning from COPD and from being 87. Few tears will be shed. He was an alcoholic before giving it up 40 years ago, kudos, but the dickishness that was formerly released by drink never really went away. His wife, well into dementia, was there and kind of sort of understanding. All four of his kids were either in the room or close by.

    I’d like to think when it’s my turn my kids will care.

    I’m getting closer to the front of the death line.

  14. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Sorry to hear it. The death of a parent is never easy and I would imagine the complicated relationship makes dealing with it harder.

    That you’re 65 and your mom is still alive and your dad made it to 87 despite not taking the best care of himself bodes well for you being around for your kids for a long time to come. As best I can glean from our virtual relationship, you’re doing right by them. If they don’t appreciate it now, they will once they realize how many of their friends’ parents were pretty shitty.

  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    Thanks dude. My wife is the one taking the hit, but she’s not particularly shaken. Two sisters, one brother, and naturally it’s the brother who takes it hardest. I don’t know where the idea came from that women are the emotional ones.

    As for kids, I have two and at least I never fall below 50% as they helpfully take turns hating alternating parents, though this seems to have mellowed over time. I hesitate to suggest it has something to do with how many times I’ve Venmo’d cash.

    I don’t know my biological father but if Facebook is to be believed (and do we have a choice?) he’s living, if being in Oklahoma can be called living. My mothers alive, though just 16 years my senior.

    We all die, the only excitement is guessing when and how. I’m putting in for 20 years from now and a freak meteorite. Big enough meteorite and the body’s taken care of, saves on cremation.

  16. Jax says:

    Somebody who was at CPAC has tested positive for coronavirus. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch.

  17. An Interested Party says:

    So now we have a possible war criminal with Trump ties hiring ex-spies to covertly infiltrate Democratic-friendly organizations and Democratic campaigns…how lovely…

  18. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Well, I outlined some choices the other day here, in response to whether Mayor Pete was a good one:

    I think Amy Klobuchar is a definite possibility, and for a non-candidate, I could definitely see Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin (in fact, she’s the one candidate I could potentially imagine being selected by either Biden or Sanders) or the other Tammy, in Illinois. For more of a Sun Belt strategy, they might go with Julian Castro, or Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto. (I’m skeptical of the Stacey Abrams buzz, but who knows.) Among the candidates who have run, besides the aforementioned ones I think Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are both likelier to end up on the ticket than Mayor Pete.

    I also discussed the limitations of home-state effects by bringing up the example of John Edwards, whom John Kerry chose in 2004 only to lose NC by double digits, just four years before a Democratic ticket with no Southerners managed to win the state. In spite of that, I’m still an overall believer in home-state advantages (I do think Hillary was helped in VA by Kaine, though I think she’d have won the state either way), it just isn’t a magic bullet. I’d also make a distinction between those who have won statewide and those who haven’t (a point that Klobuchar repeatedly made and Pete tried to glide over). Notice in the above quote I mentioned Julian Castro but not Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke ran an amazing campaign in 2018, coming right to the brink of unseating a sitting Senator in a state that hasn’t come close to voting for a Democrat for Senate since Lloyd Bentsen. But I worry that he’s ruined it now with his gun-control proposal, which could do a really excellent job of bringing out the rubes. (Talk about negative partisanship…)

  19. Mister Bluster says:

    We all die, the only excitement is guessing when and how.

    We will never know if we guessed right.
    I spend a lot of time in restaurants and since I live in a college town I get to know many wait staff and bartenders and cooks who are 50 years younger than me. I like them a lot more than the few people that I know who are my age.
    A few days ago I ran into one of the gals that had moved on from the BWW that I frequent. She is a truly beautiful person inside and out. I knew her from the restaurant and a few times I had seen her and her guy out and about. They looked happy together.
    “What’s going on?”
    “My boyfriend died Saturday! His car went off the road and he hit a tree. He was killed instantly!”: she said through her tears.
    I could not say anything to console her grief but tell her how sorry I was.
    All I could do was listen to her talk about him and how she didn’t want to be at home where they lived.
    I know she has friends who will support her at this terrible time in her life.
    The only thing I told her was to keep crying, it’s really all she can do right now.
    Some days life just stinks.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Michael, condolences to your family. Despite their age the loss of a parent is hard, been there, as both of mine are gone.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:


    I agree with you that the home state advantage can be overplayed, but it exists. An Abrams or Castro won’t deliver Georgia or Texas, but someone like Amy or Tammy Baldwin could deliver their state. Amy is very popular in MN and would lock it down. Tiny sees it as a possible in much the same way that Dems see Arizona as a possible.

  22. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Reminded me of this bit from Ron White:

    So I flew in here to Phoenix from Flagstaff because my manager doesn’t own a globe. He chartered one of those small private jets. I flew here on a plane this big, it was like a pack of gum with eight people in it.We were putzing along. We were going half the speed of *smell!* We got passed by a kite! There was a goose behind us and the pilot was yelling “Go around!” So about halfway through the trip, we start losing oil pressure in one of the engines, and the pilot says we have to turn around. It was a nine minute flight.Couldn’t make it with that equipment. He came over the intercom and said “Hey, we’re losing oil pressure in one of the engines,” which I couldn’t understand why he did, because he could have just turned around and said, “Hey, we’re losing oil pressure.” *”heard’ja”* Everyone else started freaking out, but I had been drinking since lunchtime, so I was like “Take it down! I don’t care! Make sure y you hit something hard, ’cause I don’t want to limp away from this!” The guy next to me is *losing his mind*. I guess he must have had something to “live for”. He says, “Hey man, if one of the engines goes out, how far will the other one take us?” I look at him. “All the way to the scene of the crash! Which is pretty lucky, because that’s where we’re headed! I bet we beat the paramedics by a good half hour! We’re haulin’ ass!”

  23. gVOR08 says:

    NYT reports that Erik Prince, failed Blackwater mercenary kingpin, brother of Nancy DeVos, and plotter to set up a back-channel between Trump and Putin in the famous Maldives meeting, recruited former US and UK spooks to help Project Veritas infiltrate “liberal” organizations with something better than their trademark amateurism. NYT mentions that both Project Veritas and Prince have ties to the Trump administration.

    But Adam Silverman at LGM reports that NYT missed the real story, emphasis mine,

    The really important fact is that Erik Prince’s Frontier Services Group, the company of military contractors that he runs, is owned by DVN Holdings, which would ultimately make Prince its chairman. DVN Holdings is owned by Hong Kong investor Johnson Ko Chun and the Chinese International Trust Investment Corporation (Citic), which is a People’s Republic of China (PRC) owned investment fund. Johnson Ko Chun is also on the board of directors of Cambridge Analytica’s spin off Emerdata Ltd along with Rebekah Mercer, her sister Jennifer, as well as former senior officials from Cambridge Analytica. Emerdata is also still tied to the former Cambridge Analytica’s parent firm SCL Group.

    The important fact that everyone keeps missing is that Erik Prince’s operations are funded by the People’s Republic of China. He is now their asset. If he is involved with O’Keefe’s merry band of political ratfuckers, then he is only involved so long as Xi and the PRC want him to be.

    Think there’s any chance of getting Bill Barr to investigate this? Think he cares how corrupt his unitary executive is, or who it’s beholden to?

  24. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    An Abrams or Castro won’t deliver Georgia or Texas

    Probably not, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t help the ticket in other ways. Abrams is youthful and charismatic (there’s a danger that she’d overshadow the old guy she’s running with, but that might even be an advantage in this cycle), and I could see her helping the ticket win FL, maybe even NC, more than GA. Similarly, given the demographics, Castro might help immensely in the overall Southwest, not only locking down NV but potentially helping pick up AZ.

    One downside with Castro is that he’d likely be running with a guy he implied was going senile (and he was probably right). The Repubs would have a field day with ads juxtaposing that clip with ones of a fuzzy, confused-sounding Biden.

    Of course, they’ll probably do that anyway….

    Amy is very popular in MN and would lock it down.

    She might also be of help in neighboring WI, which looks to be the single most important state in this election. She’s also been tested on the national stage already. Like Kamala Harris, her prosecutorial background makes me think she wouldn’t take crap from Pence during a debate with him. (I’m still haunted by the 2016 vp debate where Tim Kaine more or less had his ass handed to him by Pence, who lied his ass off but in an infuriatingly calm and cool way that Kaine was unable to counter effectively.) The downside is that she’s not very progressive (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your POV, but it wouldn’t provide much ideological balance for Biden, whom I think desperately needs to provide some unity with the left), and she’s got some baggage with the African American community similar to Pete and Kamala. I think she’s also somewhat lacking in the charisma department.

    I’ve increasingly warmed to the idea of WI’s Tammy Baldwin in large part because of her being a popular Senator from the enormously important swing state, and being relatively progressive too. The downside is that she’d leave a hole in the Senate for a few months after vacating it, with a special election to replace her–and after the Scott Brown fiasco, but even more in a state that’s far from solidly blue, that isn’t something we can count on. But it’s not anywhere near as dangerous to Senate control as choosing, say, Sherrod Brown.

    She’s also openly gay, which would be historic but could also be an electoral liability. The fact that this has hardly received any attention thus far is what I would call progress. And I bet it’ll be less explosive if it’s simply a vp candidate rather than the top of the ticket. It’s possible, too, that lesbians are less controversial than gay men in our culture.