Wednesday Open Thread

“Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.”

–Edgar Allan Poe

51 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    In the same state that had the racist “deportation bus” and “deportation truck”:

    Voters in Georgia voted for the progressive, charismatic gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, over the staid moderate, Stacey Evans.

    Amy McGrath, a fighter pilot, dove in out of the blue to displace the DCCC’s handpicked moderate candidate.

    Apparently, GA Dems don’t think there’s much future in trying to be all nice and bipartisan with their Good Ol’ Boys.

    • ZappateroZappatero says:


      Make note of: 1) another DCCC failure, and, 2) Democrats who aren’t afraid to be Democrats. 

      Great message from Georgia:

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        Then again, Laura Moser won't be burdened with having the represent a place like Texas in the US House.

      • Glasher says:

        Great spin! Moser got blown out 2-1 so you guys decided McGrath is some outsider maverick.

        Congrats I guess? 

      • ParkHill says:

        Actually, it should be noted that: 

        (1) In most of the primary races yesterday, the majority of Democratic voters are choosing the more pragmatic or establishment candidate, with or without the DCCC intervention.

        (2) Whether or not the candidate is perceived to be establishment or insurgent, the policies proposed are pretty much the same.

        I keep hearing the narrative that Democratic Party wouldn't be any different from the Republican Party. Those of us glued to Vox & TalkingPoints know that the Republicans are a disaster, but when it comes to the interests of Working Class people, we have certainly seen a lot of Democratic politicians building "Republican-lite" careers.  I note that wages for classic working-class jobs have declined dramatically over the past 50 years with or without Democrats in power: Truck drivers make $20/hour now whereas they used to make $30/hour.

        I agree that a more full-throated defense of liberal values would be helpful in expanding the electorate to the huge number of dis-engaged & non-voting people, in particular African Americans, Latin Americans, and young people.  

        If we vote, we win.

    • DavieDavie says:

      As a native Georgian, I'm very happy with the results.  But as a believer in Occam's Razor, I think the explanation for Abrams' win is that the better candidate won.  

      With or without the DCCC's support, that is the key to most races. I want to see younger leaders with solid credentials coming forward and challenge the sometimes ossified current leadership.  There's room for all good candidates representing a broad spectrum of views.  But yeah, I'll always prefer the pragmatist over the idealist.  That's just me.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        I'm hoping Abrams wins in November but I also know it is a very long shot. There were over 600,000 votes cast for the aggregate collection of RWNJs running on the GOP side but only 555,000 in the Democratic primary. And I understand Georgia has open primaries.


        • DavieDavie says:

          True — definitely a long upward climb — if not this race, hopefully the next.  But she has led a strong voter recruitment drive, and is exciting these new and/or under-involved voters unlike past candidates.

        • ParkHill says:

          Path to victory: 95% of African Americans and 30% of Whites.

          I saw the statistic somewhere that 30% of African Americans in Georgia are not registered to vote.

    • DavieDavie says:

      Abrams' campaign will be an extremely helpful example for others to follow where appropriate.  Per the New York Times:

      When she arrived, Ms. Abrams spoke forcefully, calling herself a “proud daughter of the Deep South,” and referring to Georgia’s rich but “complicated” history — and of leaders who too often had overlooked the “gap between struggle and success.”

      She also quoted the Book of Esther, saying “We were born for such a time as this.”

      With Atlanta thriving as a capital of black America and a magnet for immigrants across the world, Georgia’s demographics are changing. Yet even as Democrats eye the state as the next great blue hope, the party has struggled to win statewide office in part because it has had little success with conservative-leaning whites. African-American Democrats have held powerful state offices, like the attorney general’s post, but Republicans currently control every major position in Georgia.

      Ms. Abrams has signaled that she is unlikely to spend much time pleading with rural whites to return to a Democratic Party that they have largely abandoned. She has embarked instead on a strategy of energizing a coalition of young and nonwhite Georgians who represent a growing share of the state’s population, an approach national Democrats are watching closely as they grapple with how to reclaim the presidency.

  2. ZappateroZappatero says:

    Don’t be afraid to be a Democrat. Don’t wallow in “purple”. Don’t be satisfied being bipartisan with a bunch of Sociopthic Liars. 

    Playing it “safe” is LOSING in this environment. 

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      “Don’t be afraid to be a Democrat. . . .”

      Don’t worry, be Zappy!

      Dude, it’s just incredible how these campaign stickers almost write themselves!!?


    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      Great opinion piece, Zap. Thanks for the link.

      Corporate Democrats will always do what big money tells them to do and then try to cover their asses with the " Cloak of Bipartisanship".

      Whether our party "moderates" will admit it, or not, class warfare is fully underway in this country. 

      Got your little tax refund or pay raise? How much did O&G take with their gas price hike?

      Health care premiums gonna sky rocket ( Thanks T***p)…

      Don't kid yourselves, Democrats. This is class warfare in its basic form. All for the rich, none for the poor.

      This is no time to is time to fight.

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        When you look at a problem in 'the whole', sometimes free stuff delivers a surplus

        This Country Is the First in the World to Offer Free Public Transit

        “There’s no doubt that we not only cover the costs, but also come out with a surplus,” he said.

        “A good thing is, of course, that it mostly appeals to people with lower to medium incomes,” Alaküla added. “But free public transport also stimulates the mobility of higher-income groups. They are simply going out more often for entertainment, to restaurants, bars, and cinemas. Therefore they consume local goods and services and are likely to spend more money, more often. In the end this makes local businesses thrive. It breathes new life into the city.”

        Who'd have thunk?

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    Personally, I just think it’s the gates to Hell opening up . . . 

    There’s a Sinkhole at the White House. Blame the Swamp. (Really.)

  4. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    From the site unmentionable…

    Poll: Lamborn, Glenn lead GOP primary field in 5th Congressional District

    All I could think of, upon reading this headline, is Owen Hill, a copy of Atlas Shrugged held tightly in one trembling hand with the other clenched into a fist and raised to the heavens, screaming, "I am John Galt!"

  5. DavieDavie says:

    Just noticed this — it's about priorities and making a statement.

    Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado plans to introduce the Students Over Special Interests Act on Wednesday. The legislation, according to a summary viewed by Business Insider ahead of its introduction, would repeal the new tax law and redirect the taxpayer dollars toward erasing the $1.4 trillion in student-loan debt and investing in Pell grants. It will be the first piece of legislation aimed at unraveling the new tax law.

    "The Republican tax plan was all about special interests cashing in at the expense of everyone else. My plan shows what a difference we can make for middle-class Americans for even less cost," Polis said in a statement obtained by Business Insider. "So many people go to school, get a job, and work hard but still struggle to get ahead because they are weighted down by student loans. It's time to help them get out from the mountain of debt they are under."

    "The good news is if we repeal the Republicans' sweetheart deals for corporations, we can cancel out all student-loan debt, make college more affordable for future students, and still have money left over to reduce our deficit," said Polis, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee's subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development.


    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      If we want to redirect the Republican tax giveaway to the 1%, using money to eliminate student loan debt is a possibility, and the tax plan giveaway over the next decade is quite close to the $1.4 trillion now owed on college loans.

      But "erasing" student debt would still skew benefits strongly to the upper income quintiles. Brookings Institute analyzed student borrowers with large debts (over $50,000). The study found "Policies such as the student loan interest tax deduction, proposed interest reductions, and loan forgiveness may disproportionally benefit high-income borrowers." There would be less impact if the redirected tax giveaway did not include graduate school debt. Or if there were a strong needs test to mainly take care of the debt of those who cannot repay.

      I'd think there would be better uses for the money. Increasing the Pell Grant program would help avoid future educational debt. Making a massive investment in improving K-12 school infrastructure would not only improve student learning conditions, but would provide jobs. Providing subsidized full-day pre-K and K classes would free up young parents all across the economy.

      Outside of education, there could be other uses: using the money for a stabilization payments for health care insurance; investing in transportation infrastructure; expanding small business help and providing incentives for additional employees;  a list could go on and on.

      • DavieDavie says:

        FWIW, Jared's proposed legislation does include Pell Grants.  But since this bill has a less that zero chance of passing, it really is just planting a flag in the ground.  Your critique is correct, however.

      • itlduso says:

        Why not use the millionaires' money to reduce middle class income taxes?!?

        The middle class got Chump Change from the GOP tax bill.  Not every middle class family has student debt, but nearly every middle class family still pays hefty federal income taxes, even after the "tax cut" bill.  In fact, I have noticed that some middle class taxpayers will actually pay MORE in federal income taxes.  And, many will pay more in CO income taxes since their federal taxable income is higher due to lost exemptions.

        Dems can and should offer more than the Chump Change provided by the GOP.

        • DavieDavie says:

          Purely academic discussion, but here goes:

          Wages have been stagnant for decades.  One proven way to earn higher income is through education.  Education has become prohibitively expensive, leading to massive debt loads on millions of 20-50 year old wage earners, limiting their ability to get married, raise families and buy homes (the best investment/wealth-builder opportunity we have).

          So educational debt relief (focused on those most in need, eg. not the wealthy), generates a virtuous cycle of economic growth that compounds over decades, but doesn't simply create a short-lived inflationary bubble.

          On the otherhand, relatively small tax cuts going to the middle class (Trump's temporary chump change, with an additional small tip) is diluted rapidly in the ocean of consumer demand, with little lasting impact.

          • itlduso says:

            Giving a tax cut to the middle class means they will spend that money (unlike wealthy taxpayers who are already spending as much as they like).  That additional spending will multiply throughout the economy.

            Also, IMHO you need to give the middle class a reason to vote for you, such as a tax cut, which benefits all those in that category.  Once elected, you can address other low and middle class concerns.

            • DavieDavie says:

              Across the board tax cuts are stimulus, which we don't really need now — we need higher earnings and savings.

              Besides, "tax cuts" as the universal answer to all questions makes us appear to be Republican-lite followers.

              • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                Democrats can never win a tax-cut war with Republicans.   They don't care about deficits, figuring that even zero revenue aids them in "starving the beast."

            • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

              The last time I looked, on average, the wage gap between high school and bachelor's degree holders was about $20,000 a year.  Considerably more than any tax cut could reasonably expect to provide.  Most of the folks who come out of college are middle class.  Also, this additional income increases the income tax base (as well as the base for entitlement taxes).  This doesn't take into account the other positive benefits of education in people's lives.

              Then again, I don't believe anyone in this country is taxed too much, except some poorer folks by sales tax.

              I also don’t think education, or other benefits, should be means-tested. Go to public school, get an education. Pay over your lifetime in taxes.

  6. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    A great breakdown of the money in the Governor's race, from the Independent's Sandra Fish.

    States of Play: Who raised more money from inside Colorado in the big race for governor?

    Spoiler: Jared raised the most in total and from Colorado– most of it from one address.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      You have only yourself to blame for him, Sappy. I recall you on this site doing your little happy dance as DINO like Bob Kerry, Evan Bayh, David Pryor, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln were losing their seats.

      Sure, they would never support Bernie 's Free Stuff agenda but they would put Schumer in as majority leader and Feinstein in as judiciary chair.

      How's that purity fetish of yours working out?

  7. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    I generally find endorsements meaningless, but I still read them anyway, like a supermarket tabloid.  I was perusing through a list of them on that other site, and I came across this one.

    • Eric Montoya, a Thornton city council member, won endorsements from both sides of the aisle for his independent bid in House District 31.

    Former state Sen. Lois Tochtrop, a Democrat who represented Adams County for two terms, and Herb Atchison, the Republican mayor of Westminster, both threw their support this week behind Montoya, who also has the backing of Unite Colorado, formerly known as the Centrist Project.

    “Eric doesn’t care about scoring political points,” Tochtrop said in a statement. “He will focus on solving problems and making big improvements for the people of Adams County. We need his independent leadership in the state Legislature.”

    Adams County’s House District 31 includes the cities of Thornton and Northglenn. It’s currently represented by state Rep. Joe Salazar, a Democratic candidate for attorney general.

    I mean, if Lois wants to be a third-wayer like Cheri, though, you guys will still hold the House even without 31, so no biggie.

    • DavieDavie says:

      From the Denver Post:

      Sen. Lois Tochtrop has always been a bit of a maverick, siding with Republicans when fighting smoking bans and gun-control measures but backing her fellow Democrats on labor issues.

      The Adams County lawmaker’s independent streak could be one of the more memorable story lines of the 2014 session. It will be her last year because of term limits, she has nothing to lose and nothing to prove, and Senate Democrats hold only a one-seat majority.

      In the 2013 session — epic for its nastiness — Tochtrop voted with Republicans against a renewable-energy mandate for rural electric associations, although a decade earlier she co-sponsored the legislation that kicked off the mandates. She opposed the majority of gun bills her Democratic colleagues introduced.

      I'm not convinced a Democrat actually endorsed Eric Montoya…

  8. DavieDavie says:

    No Collusion?

    Even compared with the numerous reports about murky dealings between the Trump administration and governments of countries such as Russia, China, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, the transaction described in a new BBC report between Ukraine’s government to Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen involve incredibly brazen, direct dealings. They also suggest that Cohen and his associates were playing on both sides in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

    According to the report, Cohen had been paid $400,000 (though another source says it was $600,000) to arrange a White House meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Trump last June. Shortly after the meeting, the Ukrainian government shelved a bribery investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

    I guess the campaign was over by that time, and this was just double-dealing, pay-to-playing the Ukrainians, afterall.

  9. DavieDavie says:

    Interesting campaign strategy advice from Ross Douthat of the New York Times:

    Like Zingales, I think a campaign that harps too much on the president’s outrages risks playing into Trump’s hands. But there are smarter and dumber ways to go about it. The dumb ways would be either to just rehash Hillary Clinton’s failed “look how terrible this guy is” messaging or to turn the rhetorical dial all the way to 11 and talk constantly about treason and fascism and the looming fall of the republic.

    The smarter path, to which a certain amount of liberal punditry and Democratic strategizing is already pointing, is to focus on Trumpian corruption, the sleazy, sordid, self-dealing side of his administration and the obvious reluctance of congressional Republicans to execute more than a cursory sort of oversight. Between the ineffective poles of Trump sleeps with porn stars and Trump is a Manchurian candidate lies the most compelling Trump-specific message: That his administration is a grift that’s in desperate need of policing, oversight, constraint.

    Of course this message is itself provisional and self-limiting. But limits are what ambitious Democrats may have to live with if neither a disaster nor a downturn nor a true Robert Mueller bombshell intervenes.

    And limits are probably what they should have expected all along. The rule of the age of Trump, after all, is this: It is always possible to beat him. It is never so easy as it looks.

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