Sunday’s Forum

Share in the rich tapestry of opinion in today's forum.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. 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:

    Share in the rich tapestry of opinion

    Blech.

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  2. Bill says:

    Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill has passed away-

    Paul H. O’Neill had just presided over a celebrated revival of the aluminum giant Alcoa and was about to begin his retirement in late 2000 with a long drive across the back roads of America in a new Bentley Flying Spur.

    Then came calls from Vice President-elect Dick Cheney asking him to become secretary of the Treasury. Despite having a list of reasons for being not right for the job — a key one was that he had grown used to being the boss — Mr. O’Neill agreed.

    It turned out to be an agonizing tenure.

    Mr. O’Neill lasted less than two years in the job; his outspoken independence was seen as political disloyalty, and President George W. Bush fired him in December 2002.

    On Saturday, Mr. O’Neill died at his home in Pittsburgh at 84. His son, Paul Jr., said the cause was lung cancer.

    Having been handed his walking papers by the White House, Mr. O’Neill rejected the suggestion that he should say publicly that he wanted to return to private life.

    “I’m too old to begin telling lies now,” he said with typical candor. “If I took that course, people who know me well would say that it wasn’t true. And people who don’t know me well would say, ‘O’Neill was a coward — things aren’t going so well, and he bailed out on the president.’”

    I read O’Neill’s book on his time working for Bush. It was very interesting but I can’t recall much of it now. My brains mets has and cancer battles have punched holes in my memory. Anyway RIP Mr. Secretary.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A book for the shutdown: What the butler saw: sex secrets of French presidents’ palace revealed

    The Elysée was commissioned as a grand hôtel particulier [private mansion] by the Count of Évreux, who used the dowry of his 12-year-old wife, Marie-Anne Crozat, daughter of Paris’s richest man. No sooner was it completed than Évreux bundled Marie-Anne into a carriage during the inauguration ball, ordered the driver to take her to their country home and installed his mistress in the property.

    Shortly afterwards, Louis XV acquired the property for his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, who held lavish parties where she would pick young women to have sex with the king, according to Garrigues. Later, banker Nicolas Beaujon lived in the palace with his six mistresses.

    Since 1848, the Elysée has been the official home of French presidents, and while at least two, Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou, were faithful, others were decidedly not. This arguably reached a peak during the 1981-1995 rule of François Mitterrand, who was most notorious for keeping a secret second family installed in an annexe of the Elysée, with the knowledge of his long-suffering wife Danielle.

    But Mitterrand had many other affairs, and according to the journalist Catherine Nay, quoted in Garrigues’s book: “During Mitterrand’s time in the Elysée it was incredibly libertine. Everyone was jumping on everyone else.” The president’s behaviour, said Garrigues, bordered on harassment.

    Alas, such titillations are no longer a benefit for the staff:

    “It’s the first time we’ve seen advisers working this hard,” an unnamed butler, who was described as having worked at the presidential palace for 40 years, told Le Figaro magazine. “We’re bored stiff at the Elysée. No one bonks any more. Before you had to knock two or three times at doors to be certain not to interrupt someone in a compromising position.” Another anonymous witness told the magazine: “With this administration, all the libido of power is going into drawing up technical notes.”

    MeToo# run amok.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Robert Reich:

    Forget moral hazard. They’re all too big to fail.

    The Fed and the treasury had little choice. Massive defaults and bankruptcies would wreak even more havoc on the economy. Better to maintain some payrolls than add to the unemployment rolls. But by saving the backsides of big corporations and their CEOs, the bailouts have rewarded corporate America’s obsession with short-term profits regardless of longer-term risks to the corporation, its employees, and the overall economy.

    Why is moral hazard a problem when it comes to millions of jobless Americans who can’t even collect $600 in unemployment benefits, but not a problem when it comes to CEOs who have borrowed to the hilt, used the money to artificially boost share prices, and pocketed $20m a year? Giving the vast majority of Americans a bit more cushion against the downside risks they face surely poses less harm than giving CEOs a cushion against the risks they take with the entire economy.

    It’s not too late for the Fed and the treasury to take shares of stock in every corporation that gets bailed out. This way, CEOs and big investors aren’t rewarded for binging on debt to finance stock buybacks. The public gets in on the upside of any eventual recovery. And there will be more money to finance stronger safety nets for Americans who actually need them.

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  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    Cynical, but true.

    During this second phase, companies will begin to rehire workers. If the past is any guide, many employers will use this opportunity to replace some of their former workers with cheaper and more contingent labor. During normal economic times, slashing wages or stripping away job security prompts a backlash of protest and bad publicity. But lowering such labor costs is easy when the economy is stalled and workers are grateful for any opportunity.

    Once the pandemic subsides, people may go back to their old habits, but corporations do not typically let such opportunities for cutting costs go to waste—as we have seen whenever efforts to organize workers prompt employers to suddenly bring in more computers and robots, outsource work to contractors, or move jobs entirely offshore.

    Meanwhile, the old stigmas against unemployed workers will resurface, as memories of the initial crisis fade and people find new reasons to fault others for not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Even today, we see hints of what is to come. Some of the country’s most prominent conservative ideologues are already complaining about how Congress’s top-up of unemployment benefits encourages people to drop out of the workforce.

    Glad I’m retired, financially stable and don’t have kids.

    Yup, different rules for the plebes @OzarkHillbilly:

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  6. Kathy says:

    Immune system overreaction and/or defects seem to be playing a part in COVID-19 deaths. IN particular cytokine storms.

    There are plenty of caveats. For one, this is not the one cause behind all COVID-19 deaths. Also the virus is still highly contagious. Avoiding it’s spread is still the best strategy to contain it.

    On other news, it seems a lot more people have been infected with SARS-COV2, as judged by antibody tests.

    This may be good news, but again take care. For one thing, still only 3% or so of the population has been infected, meaning any kind of “herd immunity” is far from being accomplished. For another, it’s unknown how long, or whether, immunity may last.

    Lastly, based on the above and the overall damage done by this pandemic, it’s clear to me those who believe in “intelligent design” have ample grounds to sue the designer for all Its worth.

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  7. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’d go a lot further and demand, not even ask, that all major investors, and that would include the board of directors, should relinquish all their stock in the bailed out company for its current market price.

    The company, the services or products it offers, the jobs it creates, etc. would be saved, but the investors, directors, and executives would pay the price.

    Maybe that will teach them caution, or not to ask for a bail out.

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  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    A new Gallup poll finds Present Donald Trump’s approval stands at 43%. His disapproval rating is at 54%. Trump’s approval rating is down significantly from 49% in March, while his disapproval rating is up 9 points from 45%.

    More

    What amazes me about Tiny’s polling, isn’t the partisanship, nor the consistency of his polling, but that there are so few undecideds. Pretty consistently the number of no opinion voters is less than 5%.

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  9. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Kathy:

    …should relinquish all their stock in the bailed out company…

    No. Wait. Don’t. Come back… Trust me, I am the first one who would support the opportunity to applaud the demise of a bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes…

    But in this case, it was not mismanagement, or malfeasance or even petty theft that caused the crisis. It’s the virus.

    If we want services once this is behind us, then to ensure that these services remain… well, they get a hand. And, yes, I hate the fact that corporations get a better hand than do average citizens… but this is America, and we have long confused capitalism with democracy.

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  10. Kingdaddy says:

    I think that Stacey Abrams is an accomplished politician and a seemingly fine person. She deserves another shot at a major office. However, I do not want her as Biden’s VP candidate.

    Biden was an excellent VP because of his long experience in the federal government, not just his good relationship with Obama. Biden could spearhead policy initiatives because he knew how to get things done, at the national level.

    We will have an unprecedented mess to clean up after the election. We need someone in the VP slot who can supplement the Oval Office, not just the ticket. So enough already with the numerous news articles discussing Biden’s VP pick featuring a picture of Stacey Abrams at the top. Note to journalists: stop trying an anoint a candidate. Even if you had real influence, your track record of choices is really bad.

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  11. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Take a moment to read this article on what we are all experiencing with COVID-19 in our lives:

    That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief

    A shockingly simple insightful read.

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  12. Kingdaddy says:

    If you’re reading this, you probably think that turning the federal government into a spoils system for the rich is an abomination. Many in the current regime, the Current Occupant most notably, think that government is an aberration if it’s not their personal stash of wealth and favors. The people who support them are just suckers who believe that their favored candidate really cares about the little people.

    If you have any doubts, here’s an account of how the emergency relief funds from the CARES Act is being distributed to restaurants. And here is the composition of the panel that’s supposed to represent the interests of the local diner or Chinese restaurant who is struggling to stay afloat. Spoiler: They’re not very representative of the little people.

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  13. @OzarkHillbilly: All I can say is see here.

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  14. @Kingdaddy: Agreed.

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  15. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “No one bonks any more”

    Wonder what the verb was in the original French…

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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yeah I saw that. I was just offering my rather modest contribution to the rich tapestry of opinion.

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  17. CSK says:

    @wr:
    Bonque.

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  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    Agree fully with regard to Abrams, I believe she would best be served personally by running for the Georgia senate seat and she would be serving the citizens of Georgia.

    Biden blundered by announcing that he would choose a woman as VP. The announcement made a good sound bite, but it has boxed him in. Many have pointed out that his VP should be a PoC, but he’s now reduced to choosing a woman of color, if he feels it is important to acknowledge his support from the AA community.

    Leaving aside electoral college considerations, I’d prefer a governor or former governor who has served in Congress, a former cabinet officer may do as well. Someone who has extensive administrative experience in leading large public bureaucracies.

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  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, when I see the word “tapestry” I think of Carole King. But the previous ones don’t really match. Maybe James Taylor?

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  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Well worth the read: On the trail of a Nazi war criminal: ‘It’s my duty as a son to find the good in my father’

    In the 1960s, my brother and I often visited our grandparents in Paris, near the Gare du Nord. As children, we understood that the past was painful, that we should not ask questions. Their apartment was a place of silences, one haunted by secrets. They only really began to be addressed when I was in my 50s, the consequence of an invitation to deliver a lecture in Lviv, in Ukraine. Come talk about your work on crimes against humanity and genocide, it said.

    I went to Lviv, and one thing led to another. I found the house where my grandfather Leon was born in 1904. I learned of the terrible events that occurred there, unleashed with a speech delivered by Hans Frank, governor general of Nazi-occupied Poland, on a warm day in August 1942. His words exterminated my grandfather’s family, and hundreds of thousands of other families. Four years later, the speech-giver was hanged in the courtyard of Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice, for crimes against humanity. A year after going to Lviv, I met Frank’s son Niklas, a fine journalist who despised his father. It was he who introduced me to Horst Arthur Wächter, the son of Otto Wächter, an Austrian, the governor of Krakow and later of Galicia, based in Lviv. Wächter the father was indicted for mass murder but never caught. He died in Rome in 1949, in unexpected circumstances. In due course I would learn all about the virus that was said to have killed him.

    “You will like Horst,” Niklas tells me, “although he is different from me: he loves his father.”

    ………………….

    Love blinds. Over time, it transforms perceptions of reality, and then reality itself. Like me, Horst was born into a family of silences. When the war ended, he – as Charlotte’s favourite – was protected, nourished and loved, and taught that his father was a fine and decent man. “I am so grateful that there are still people today who … have positive things to say about my husband,” his mother told Melitta Wiedemann. “I do not want my children to believe that he is a war criminal who murdered hundreds of Jews.”

    Horst doesn’t want to believe it, either, even if he knows the facts point elsewhere. Together, he and I have stood before a site of mass murder, near Lviv. There, the pain on his face is plain. He does not deny what happened, or his father’s connection to the horrors, or his mother’s support of them. He just wants to characterise them differently, as Charlotte did. It’s a way of being able to live, a means of survival. I cannot share Horst’s characterisation of the facts yet I feel an affection for him, and respect his open spirit, his willingness to engage in this project, to respond to suggestions that the looted objects his mother passed on to him should be returned to their rightful owners (we are still working on the china from Villa Mendl, which the owner’s daughter, who lives in Australia, has asked for). I feel, too, anxiety for the price he has paid for sharing these personal papers, cutting himself off from much of the rest of his family.

    Horst and I are bonded by a sense of dislocation, and to events distant in time and place. Our points of departure were different, opposite sides of a shared story, yet our paths crossed and we arrive at an endpoint. It’s a curious waltz, a constant movement, a double act in which each seeks to lead and persuade the other. What emerges are secrets – and questions of lies, justice and love.

    In between the 2 above excerpts is more than a little of his mother’s scrapbook containing pictures, letters and diary entries which perfectly encapsulates the phrase, “the banality of evil.”

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  21. Bill says:

    The Florida headline of the day-

    Florida schools to stay closed through semester, Gov. Ron DeSantis says

    I don’t see what other choice DeSantis had. People age 25-65 are 40 to 50% of those whose positive for the Coronavirus and that’s the age of the people who teach and run the schools.

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  22. @Jay L Gischer: The theme might not be music this time.

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  23. Kari Q says:

    Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio believes there should be hearings about governors who issued stay-at-home orders.

    That’s the advantage of being in the minority. You can babble any kind of foolishness and know there will be no consequences.

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  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Bill: Makes me feel good. I hadn’t seen that news until your link. I commented yesterday that while DeSantis was talking about opening schools he’d somehow find his hands were tied and he had to leave them closed. He’s playing Trump’s game of trying to have it both ways. Happy talk championing giving people freedumb from restrictions while not actually doing anything about it.

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  25. Bill says:

    The clueless sports headline of the day-

    Golf ‘lends itself more to social distancing,’ says PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan

    Besides a few pockets across the globe, sport has been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    And golf is no different, with three of the majors postponed, and The Open canceled. At the time of writing, the only event unaffected is the Ryder Cup which remains set to go ahead as planned from September 25-27 in Wisconsin.
    With guidelines instructing people to not congregate in groups to slow the spread of Covid-19 becoming commonplace, sport has looked some way from returning.

    But for golf, the spread-out nature of the sport means that returning on the week of June 8 to 14 — which has been proposed — is a realistic option for PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
    “And for us to return with no spectators, our sport lends itself more so than any other sport to social distancing,” Monahan told CNN Sport’s Andy Scholes.

    Really Commissioner? Do caddies and players social distance when working together? When players work on the practice green? How about 150 men all needing to use the small locker rooms of a golf clubhouse.

    How are these events broadcast? A television control room in a tractor trailer full of 10-20 people. Oh and there’s all the volunteers (In the hundreds) needed to put on this event. Spectators or no spectators.

    Then will the exception of the local volunteers, all these people have to pack up and move at least hundreds of miles by plane or air.

    What’s the percentage of people again ages 25-64 testing positive for coronavirus?

    Commissioner Monahan needs a reality check again. He tried to start the PGA Tour’s flagship (Players Championhsip) event even when other professional sporting events were cancelling in hordes. Only after round of golf was played did the PGA Tour pull the plug.

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  26. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kingdaddy: No chance she is on the ticket. Frankly, I’m not overly impressed with her persuasion skills or her ability to be a she-wolf in room full of alpha dogs. And before anyone comes at me…I think Warren, Harris, and Gabbert all had that she-wolf factor to them. They, like Abrams, were all missing some of the superficiality required to have a successful run at POTUS.

    Honestly, if Biden wants to “reward” Black people for saving his campaign…a Black AG and a Black male SCOTUS appt (to cancel out the stench of Justice Thomas) are more valuable than the VP.

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  27. Mikey says:

    @Kari Q:

    Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio believes there should be hearings about governors who issued stay-at-home orders.

    Maybe there should be hearings about male athletes being sexually assaulted at Ohio State University and the coaches knowing and sweeping it under the rug.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Biden blundered by announcing that he would choose a woman as VP. The announcement made a good sound bite, but it has boxed him in.

    This is a solvable problem. It just depends on how much the male politician wants the job. We have the technology.

    Or he can just find one of the many qualified women.

    Or he can shrug and say “so-and-so has such-and-such experience that we need at this unprecedented time.”

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  29. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The poems of Henry Timrod?

    (I know nothing of them, other than that Bob Dylan borrowed heavily when when writing his album Love and Theft. Well, “borrowed”. It’s an amazing album, btw)

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  30. Bill says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Agree fully with regard to Abrams, I believe she would best be served personally by running for the Georgia senate seat and she would be serving the citizens of Georgia.

    Biden blundered by announcing that he would choose a woman as VP. The announcement made a good sound bite, but it has boxed him in. Many have pointed out that his VP should be a PoC, but he’s now reduced to choosing a woman of color, if he feels it is important to acknowledge his support from the AA community.

    Not afraid to voice a minority opinion again but what the Democratic party needs in November is another candidate than sleepy and too often wrong Joe Biden.

    Oh I won’t vote for Trump. I’ll vote for Biden but he isn’t what this country needs either.

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  31. Teve says:

    @Bill: I wanted Elizabeth Warren. She would’ve been a steak dinner. Joe Biden is a hamburger. But Donald Trump is a piece of raw chicken left on the counter since last Monday. I’ll take the hamburger.

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  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ticked Off Vic has a few things he’d like to say.

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  33. EddieInCA says:

    @Bill:

    Really Commissioner? Do caddies and players social distance when working together? When players work on the practice green? How about 150 men all needing to use the small locker rooms of a golf clubhouse.

    Hi Bill –

    I actually golfed last Wednesday. There are a few courses open in Kern Country (about 90 mins north of Los Angeles), that are properly social distancing. I played, and never came closer than 10 feet from anyone from the moment I left my house until I got home. Here’s what they’ve done.

    1. You either walk, or ride alone in a cart. I chose to walk, using my own pull cart. My playing partner drove in a single cart.

    2. Tee times have been cut in half both in terms of time and groups. Only twosomes go out, and they go out every 12 minutes, instead of every 6-8 minutes.

    3. Flag poles stay in. No touching.

    4. Cups have been raised, so they’re ABOVE the green level. If your ball hits the raised cup, it counts as making the putt.

    4. Snack bar, pro shop, cafeteria, patio, bar, clubhouse are ALL closed.

    5. Payments have to be made online in advance. No reason to go into pro shop.

    6. Putting green, driving range, and chipping areas are all closed.

    7. Every other parking spot is coned off. Gotta leave an empty parking spot between parked cars int he parking lot.

    8. Ball washers have been removed from the course.

    There is nothing you need to touch other than your clubs, your ball, or your cart. I use my own pull cart, so I didn’t touch anything that didn’t belong to me.

    I carried cholrox wipes, just in case, and my hand sanitzer.

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  34. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Flag poles stay in. No touching.

    Ball washers have been removed from the course.

    Finally.

    Listen, what people do in the privacy of their own homes is fine — I’m not going to judge, lord knows I’ve got my own peccadilloes — but keep it away from people who don’t consent to being part of your scene.

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  35. EddieInCA says:

    @Gustopher:

    @EddieInCA:

    Flag poles stay in. No touching.

    Ball washers have been removed from the course.

    Finally.

    Listen, what people do in the privacy of their own homes is fine — I’m not going to judge, lord knows I’ve got my own peccadilloes — but keep it away from people who don’t consent to being part of your scene.

    I didn’t even mention the stiff shaft on my driver with the oversized head , nor the strokes I needed, nor the hole locations, nor the tight lies on the fairway, nor that I was inside my partner on every green.

    I’m here all week. Try the veal. Don’t forget to tip your waiter.

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  36. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Bill:

    Biden scares the crap out of me as well. At the beginning of this, the 2 candidates that I dismissed were Bernie and Joe, too damn old, plus different substantive reasons for each. Pretty much anyone else was acceptable except Marianne Williamson, even Tulsi would have been OK.

    If Joe would be unable to continue, I’m pretty sure the DNC would find an alternative that would be agreeable.

    Frankly Biden scares me, he’s the one Dem that I fear could screw this up.

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  37. @Gustopher: The odds of me pulling a poem-based anything are, well, quite low.

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  38. @Bill: @Sleeping Dog:
    Biden was not my first choice for various reasons, so my comment is not ex post facto fitting the outcome to my preference. However, his ability to have handily and decisively unified the party at this stage of the game alleviates a lot my “sleepy Joe”/unengaged Joe concerns.

    But, yes, concerns continue–and will do so up and until the time that Trump loses the election.

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  39. Bill says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Biden scares the crap out of me as well. At the beginning of this, the 2 candidates that I dismissed were Bernie and Joe, too damn old, plus different substantive reasons for each. Pretty much anyone else was acceptable except Marianne Williamson, even Tulsi would have been OK.

    I voted for Tulsi as a protest in Florida Democratic primary. Am I the first commenter here to say they voted for her?

    If Joe would be unable to continue, I’m pretty sure the DNC would find an alternative that would be agreeable.

    If only Joe could see how weak he is and step aside allowing an open convention. The trouble- Presidential candidates or long-term politicians have huge egos and few can see their own weaknesses.

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  40. Bill says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    I think that Stacey Abrams is an accomplished politician and a seemingly fine person. She deserves another shot at a major office. However, I do not want her as Biden’s VP candidate.

    Me either. If Biden chooses a AA woman, I have a name for him.

    Val Demings

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  41. Bill says:

    Today is the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing

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  42. @Bill:

    Today is the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing

    Indeed it is. I was on a bus in Bogota when I thought I heard the radio say there had been a bombing in the US. It was quite surreal.

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  43. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @Sleeping Dog: @Bill:
    Joe Biden was the least imperfect of imperfect candidates. Frankly, I marvel at how people honestly thought anyone is the field was, shall we say, steak dinner. A great technocrat is not the same as a great politician. Superficiality factor is a real thing that voters gravitate to–that none of them really have–but Joe has a little more than the rest.

    To be POTUS you’d better be able to walk into most rooms in the Country and have the ability to strike a chord with the people in that room–southerners, mid-westerners, northeasterner, etc. This requires story telling ability, comedic timing, self depreciative humor, innuendo–and at the same time a hint of bravodo and “f%$k you” to be sprinkled in when appropriate. Joe Biden is a shell of his former-self but he still has some of those skills left in the tank. He’s bad at the technocrat part–which is a turn off to this crowd-but no one really cares about the type of people that comment here. OTB is a very small representation of the voting electorate.

    P.S. Yes, Trump possesses all of the superficialities, he tainted his brand by running for POTUS [where there is an actual service expected to be delivered (Governance) outside of a great laugh and ball-busting] but there is no question in his ability to find the angle in a crowd, almost any crowd anywhere, and to capture its attention and trust. What can I say–other than what I always say? Voters are dumb.

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  44. @Jim Brown 32:

    Joe Biden was the least imperfect of imperfect candidates. Frankly, I marvel at how people honestly thought anyone is the field was, shall we say, steak dinner.

    The field is always weak and it isn’t obvious that a good president is a good president until the term in office is over.

    OTB is a very small representation of the voting electorate.

    Indeed.

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  45. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Bill: I think its important to have someone that has run and won statewide office. I would look at her:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juliana_Stratton

    Also, I would not rule out Senator Duckworth. I think she’d be a great choice. Like I said before–I’ll take the AG and Supreme Court Justice.

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  46. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: True indeed. Most of that is because the primary process doesn’t sort based on actual skills needed to do the job. Nothing could be used to perfectly sort and forecast–but what we do now is like if a NFL GM could only look at combine stats to judge talent to bring into their organization. No game tape, no pro-day drills–only combine stats. There are a lot of combine warriors who aren’t very good football players–and teams that weight those metrics high get burned regularly. The primaries and debates show very little about who is able to run a giant bureaucracy, who can sell a vision and drive an organization down the roadmap to achieve it, who can find and keep america in the sweet spot of hard/soft power. I suppose we could have that sorts of examinations and discussions if that’s want voters wanted–but that’s not what voters appear to want.

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  47. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Most of that is because the primary process doesn’t sort based on actual skills needed to do the job.

    I disagree. The job they are running for is nominee, and the skills required to win the nomination are very relevant to the skills required to win the presidency.

    The presidency itself is a whole different thing, but still requires that ability to connect and inspire. Ideally without pissing other people off.

    Joe has the ability to connect broadly, which my favorite, Warren, (sadly) did not have. I wish someone younger than 130 had been able to eclipse him, but… he and his campaign did a fine job. He’s a credible, reasonable alternative in an election that will be a referendum on Donald J. Trump, King of Orange.

    Biden was a burger. Warren was Chicken Tangine — way better to those who like it, but that’s a narrower range.

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  48. Bill says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Also, I would not rule out Senator Duckworth. I think she’d be a great choice.

    I like Duckworth too. Probably more so as a VP choice than Kobuchar or Warren (Its her age. Biden is 78 and she 70. That’ too much old on one ticket) but Harris is fine with me too.

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  49. Kari Q says:

    Kevin Drum asks the question I’ve been asking at least weekly for some time: What the hell is wrong with these people?

    Specifically, Republicans were apparently resisting a Democratic demand for $25 billion for testing, which you would think would be an obvious thing to support. But “For some reason Republicans resisted it for more than a week before caving in.”

    I would say the same thing applies to money for hospitals. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and they are resisting giving money to hospitals? What the hell is wrong with these people?

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  50. Stormy Dragon says:

    Guess for the new Forum theme: taglines from old movie news reel series?

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  51. gVOR08 says:

    @Kari Q: WAPO’s Editorial Board wrote an editorial titled, Congress must work to fund small businesses. Instead, we’re seeing a partisan battle, bemoaning how partisanship was standing in the way of McConnell passing small business relief because Dems were asking for purely partisan gets, like money for hospitals and extended testing. I was going to write a nasty comment to the effect this was Republican intransigence, “We need more money to give to my not really small business donors, and how dare you try to bargain with me.”, and it was ridiculous to treat it as bothsides. But when I opened comments, I found I was way too late. They’d already been toasted pretty good.

    Drum asks what’s wrong with these people. An excellent question. And part of the answer is that they never get held to account by our supposedly liberal MSM.

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  52. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Gustopher: Nominee is a milestone on the way to the prize: the Presidency. But leaving aside the technical skills of governance–which would be challenging to sort for in any primary or campaign season–one could at least sort for the superficialities. I don’t believe the televised debates nor the televised stump speeches are good to display who has the “mouth feel” of a President. Campaign rallies–absolutely. Trump’s & Warren’s are actually brilliant in form and substance–and of course Trump’s is uniquely talented to be a 1-man virtuoso. But these events are covered by in large through media sound bites which makes them to the tv view as informative as stump speech. Townhalls are fantastic–the candidate and a cold room they need to warm up. I actually think Biden’s townhall performance where what kept him from cratering. He showed a mix of toughness, vulnerability, empathy, humor, and a command of enough of the technical fact to be able to make decisions.

    Going forward, I would hope the crowded “debate” states goes the way of the DoDo bird. They need a format for up to 3 candidates have the time and space to really engage between themselves and the audience. Perhaps they can have several round robins with different mixes of candidate–but the days of scripted one-liners and attempted haymakers are counterproductive to the process we are engaging in.

    PS: This will never happen–but a man can dream.
    PPS : I said the same thing about a black president

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  53. @Gustopher:

    The job they are running for is nominee, and the skills required to win the nomination are very relevant to the skills required to win the presidency.

    I think it appears to be the case, but having thought about this for years, I am less convinced.

    I am not convinced that semi-moving to NH and IA and engaging in intra-party debates is a good prep for running for president. It also requires actors within the party to attack and tear down one another in a way that could have long-term damage to the nominee (such as in 2016).

    I am not going to say that there aren’t skills learned that are translatable to a national campaign, but I think the notion that the primaries are a good testing ground for actually running for president is a story we tell ourselves to justify our peculiar way of choosing a nominee.

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  54. @Stormy Dragon: Nope.

    And somehow my scheduled Monday forum didn’t post, so I will resume tomorrow.

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  55. wr says:

    @Bill: “I voted for Tulsi as a protest in Florida Democratic primary. Am I the first commenter here to say they voted for her?”

    Yes. Next time you might want to confess to molesting small children. It will go over better.

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  56. wr says:

    @Kari Q: “What the hell is wrong with these people?

    They.
    Are.
    Evil.

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