Thursday Open Thread

“Hubris is one of the great renewable resources.”

–P. J. O’Rourke

26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnes says:

    Today is National Depression Screening Day which can be cured with National Fluffernutter Day

  2. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from Matthew Iglesias at Vox: "The politics of incredulity"

    Prohibiting pre-existing conditions and the ACA are so popular, that the Republican Party's only argument is to simply lie about it.

    The Kliff/Sanger-Katz story reminded me of Robert Draper’s reporting from the 2012 cycle on the challenges that the then-new Priorities USA Super PAC faced in trying to develop effective ads to use against Sen. Mitt Romney.

    One of their first ideas was to take note of the fact that Romney was advocating a bunch of unpopular ideas, and run ads highlighting that. It didn’t work, because the actual Romney policy mix — huge long-term cuts in Medicare in order to create budget headroom for large tax cuts for the rich — sounded so absurd (emphasis added):

    Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing. What became clear was that voters had almost no sense of Obama’s opponent.

  3. DavidThi808 says:

    I think Kamela Harris did an awesome job last night. Although the fly was the true star of the show.

    First off, either candidate could pull out a gun and shoot the moderator, and still be called the winner by 35% of the viewers. Most reputable polls show here at 60% to Pence's 40% so damn close to the best possible.

    Second, she threaded the needle on not being viewed as an angry black woman (unfair but unfortunately necessary).

    Third, she introduced herself as she's not that well known.

    Fourth, she got the main Biden points out.

    Fifth, aside from packing the Supreme Court, she avoided any question she wanted to avoid without it being obvious (although granted, Pence is a genius at that).

    • NOV GOP meltdown says:

      Agree David.  She struck that balance well between getting your point across and not appearing angry.  My ten year old daughter, who wanted to watch with me, has a new hero too. 

      I also have to give credit where credit is due.  Pence did a pretty good job of defending the indefensible.

      • ajb says:

        I only listened to the beginning, but I was struck by the way Pence interrupted and talked over Harris and Page and ignored all the rules that he'd agreed to.

        That's the way to court women voters. 

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Outstanding answer by Biden.  Yes, let’s get a sense of whether the voters have an issue with the possibility of a realignment of the courts. Let’s see just how far McConnell is willing to extend his new norms in the upper chamber. 

  4. harrydoby says:

    The most accurate BS detector was working just fine last night:

  5. MichaelBowman says:

    Trump bails on virtual debate. 

    Will Joe debate a cardboard-cutout? 

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Thar be Draguns! . . .

      Can a person be both pro-virtual Presidential debates AND anti-virtual Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings? . . .

      . . . without appearing like being a, . . . um, . . . “politician”?

      • MichaelBowman says:

        Isn’t the Senate part of that question an actual Senate ‘rule’, or is it yet another norm we can bend-break??

        • ajb says:

          I don't know where I read it, but I saw that the hearings can be virtual, but the actual votes must be in-person.

        • JohnInDenver says:

          Hearings can be virtual and proxy votes are allowed at the committee level.

          Debate listening and questions can be virtual for the whole Senate. I don’t believe speeches may be made virtually.  Any votes MUST be cast by Senators in person. [in the name of comity or “bipartisan respect for other Senators,” some have been willing to “pair” their votes with an absent colleague and choose not to vote.  For example, on the Kavanaugh confirmation vote, “Murkowski now intends to vote “present” to offset the absence of Republican Sen. Steve Daines, who will be in Montana to attend to his daughter’s wedding.”]

    • MichaelBowman says:

      A virtual debate might seem like a technological marvel of the Zoom-heavy pandemic era, but there is a precedent dating back 60 years to the dawn of mass media campaigns. In 1960, the third debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon was held remotely. Kennedy debated from a television studio in New York; Nixon appeared from Los Angeles. A split-screen camera feed allowed viewers to watch both candidates simultaneously, with the men filmed on a pair of identical sets. The moderator of that debate, Bill Shadel of ABC News, conducted the proceedings from a third studio in Chicago.

  6. Voyageur says:

    Well, now we know why Pence doesn't like being alone with a woman other than his wife!smiley

  7. DavidThi808 says:

    I don't think they should pack the Supreme Court. That definitely would be a very hard thing to pass, would be viewed poorly by most voters, and would lead to the same from Republicans in the future.

    But what is reasonable is term limits. Say 14 years. And that solves the problem in a way that is a good idea going forward and is not something that can be escalated.

    I propose 14 years so it's 3-1/2 presidential terms long. Makes it more likely that it is spread out over different presidents.

    • ParkHill says:

      Wouldn't term limits for SCOTUS justices require a constitutional change? (I'm not a scholar).

      Alito & Thomas are throwbacks to the 1950s – segregationist, anti-gay, activists. Amy Cohen Barrett is an adherent to an extremist religious sect that believes that the husband orders his wife, and doesn't believe in Birth Control. Alito believes that Racism, no matter how egregious and how obvious the racist consequences requires proof of intent – yeah, like how is it possible to ever prove intent!?

      Drifting so far to the right will result in the Supreme Court facing a serious legitimacy crisis.

      The ONLY way to save the court from itself is to expand the number of justices, and put up some countervailing Justices.

      • MichaelBowman says:

        We’re looking at the prospect of having six of the Supremes being appointed by Republicans, a party who hasn’t bester a national popular vote win in 32 years. In 2018 Democratic senators garnered more than 15 million more votes than the Republicans.  McConnell left 128 of Obama’s open seats empty and is now ‘packing ‘ them with largely-unqualified judges with lifetime appointments.  It’s time we had a grownup discussion about the make-up of the court. Pence mentioned last night that SCOTUS has had 9 seats for 150 years. BFD. Women didn’t get the right to vote for over a century-and-a-half after we were formed. Blacks were 3/5ths a person and spent nearly  200 years in their rights for social justice. So, with all due respect @VP, stuff your thoughts on SCOTUS. We should be talking about adding 2 seats at a minimum and pass comprehensive reform on the entirety of the system. 

      • notaskinnycook says:

        It would require a Constitutional amendment, PH, just as presidential term-limits did. All the Constitution says about the terms of judges and justices is that " they shall serve during good behavior".

        • JohnInDenver says:

          Well, the term limits idea would need to not only pass House and Senate, and get signed by the President — but it nearly certainly would be brought to the Supreme Court for a ruling, too.

          One way around that would be to strip the Supreme Court of power to rule on their own powers, defining "service during good behavior" as justifying on-going judicial roles, but NOT tenure with the Supreme Court.   There may be other approaches, too.

          "Court packing" is not a single thing.  It could vary based on numbers of seats (at any level of the Judiciary), It would likely matter if all of them were to be named immediately, start in 4 years, or be a gradual increase over some extended period of time. There may be statutory changes in the nomination and confirmation process, such as trading a requirement for a higher number of votes to confirm for a legal requirement to have the Senate take votes within, say, 6 months of formal nomination.  LOTS and LOTS of nuances — and a Presidential campaign is not the time for a measured consideration and debate of possible provisions.

        • spaceman65 says:

          Requires a constitutional amendment to take away life tenure, though such an amendment is not necessarily unreachable.  Expanding, or contracting, the size of the court only requires legislation.  Also, legislation can expand or contract the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, except in cases that are within the Court's jurisdiction as specified in the Constitution (such as in cases between two states (for which the Court has not only original, but exclusive jurisdiction)).   

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        “Wouldn’t term limits for SCOTUS justices require a constitutional change? (I’m not a scholar).”

        Probably. The only way to undo the damage that this is going to do is to add justices.

        I’m glad Biden and Harris will not talk about it. For now.

        I must confess that I want to watch Mitch McConnell, as minority leader, become apoplectic when they take up a court expansion bill.

  8. itlduso says:

    Tweet from UT Senator Mike Lee:

    Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.

    12:24 AM · Oct 8, 2020

    He's saying the quiet part out loud.  Particularly in the context of Trump injecting in his debate the potential for a violent overthrow of the Biden administration, and Pence refusing to accept the results of the election in last night's debate, this is scary. 

    I was thinking earlier that a landslide election by Biden and the Dems would quash any mischief by Trump.  I'm not so sure anymore.

    • harrydoby says:

      I tend to agree, corrupt narcissists not only can't admit mistakes, they certainly can't accept fault for their failures.  So the margin of defeat, no matter how small or large, is only proof in their minds that the vote was corrupt.

      Trump, his goons in the GOP and other domestic terrorists will gladly destroy our democracy to cling to power.

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