Sunday, February 17, 2019
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Tom Perriello Debates at 1:30 PM, Robert Hurt is AWOL

Check out Rep. Tom Perriello (D-5th) at 1:30 today in his debate against...well, one of his opponents, anyway. Where's Republican nominee Robert Hurt? Ducking, dodging, evading, obfuscating, taking a nap? Meanwhile, as Hurt cowers, Perriello fearlessly faces the voters' questions. What else is new?
The first debate of the 5th district race is getting underway in a few minutes.

Click here to see the debate streaming live on our website starting at 1:30 p.m.

Unbelievably, Senator Robert Hurt is refusing to show up to make his case to the voters. I'll be making the case that if he wants the job of representative, he needs to show up for the interview. I'm looking forward to debating the independent candidate, Jeff Clark. We may not agree on many things, but we at least agree that any man who wants to represent this district should have the courage to show up to debates.

Tune in starting at 1:30 pm on our website.



UPDATE 1:33 PM: Senior Statesmen of Virginia intro to the debate: "The Republican candidate chose not to accept." Ha. Also, according to Coy Barefoot, the moderator of the forum, Robert Hurt is the first candidate to decline an invitation from the Senior Statesmen since 1996. Wow, that's pitiful!

UPDATE 1:40 PM: Perriello says that, unlike Robert Hurt, at least Virgil Goode showed up and said where he stood. Also, Perriello says it's a "shame" that Hurt won't let Clark in the debates. Tom Perriello challenges Hurt to four televised debates, says "voters deserve that."  

Winners and Losers: 8/10/10 Primary Edition

There were some definite winners and losers coming out of yesterday's primaries in Connecticut, Colorado, and Georgia. Here are a few.

1. Barack Obama: The President endorsed Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado over former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff. If Bennet had lost, you can bet that Fox and the rest of the conservative, corporate media would be playing it up as a sign of Obama's "weakness." With Bennet's win, I'm sure we'll see all the Obama bashers eating their hats? No? Gee, that's shocking! Heh.

2. The Colorado Tea Party: A huge winner last night, as their favorites Ken Buck and Don Maes (who believes "a popular Denver bike-share program is a 'very well-disguised' part of a plan by Denver mayor...John Hickenlooper for 'converting Denver into a United Nations community.'"), defeated party-picked pros, former lieutenant governor Jane Norton and former Congressman Scott McInnis.

3. Colorado Democrats: Sen. Bennet should now have a fairly clear, {albeit not} easy path to reelection, having gotten the opponent he was dreaming of facing. Among other things, Buck believes that rape and incest do not justify abortion, that the "greatest threat to the United States" is Barack Obama (e.g., not Al Qaeda), who believes in eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education, and that people should vote for him because he "doesn't wear high heels". Congratulations on your {hopeful} reelection, Sen. Bennet! Ha. :)

4. Connecticut Democrats: With the victory of wacky World Wrestling Entertainment owner Linda McMahon over more moderate, more sane Republican Rob Simmons, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Richard Blumenthal should cruise to victory in November. Also, Connecticut Democrats are now in excellent position to take back the governor's mansion.

5. Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes (D): While Republicans slug it out in a bitter nomination contest for Georgia governor (between Palin-endorsed Karen Handel and Newt Gingrich-endorsed Nathan Deal) that remains too close to call this morning, former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) emerges strong and with a unified party behind him for the fall election. All that translates into a good chance for Democratic victory this November.

6. Nathan Daschle: Read here for more about why the Democratic Governor's Association executive director is in a great mood this morning!

7. The Red and the Blue: Former University of Pennsylvania school mascot ("The Penn Quaker") Brian Becker, a close friend of mine since we were 6 years old, won his first race for elective office last night. Brian won 57%-43% and is now the Democratic nominee for Connecticut State House of Representatives from the 19th District (West Hartford, Avon, Farmington). As the Penn victory song goes, "Hurrah for the red and the blue!"

Keith Olbermann: White House Anger Should be Directed at “Professional RIGHT”

I'm with Keith Olbermann on this one: I can understand the White House's frustration with the "professional left," but the ones they really should be angry at are the "professional right" - Beck, O'LIElly, Rush, Palin, etc. Also, I agree with Olbermann that this White House's negotiation tactics - start just barely, if at all, left of center - leave much to be desired.  And please, White House, stop with the absurd, false equivalency between people like Keith Olbermann - people based in reality, people who overwhelmingly want you to succeed! - with people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh - people based in their own paranoia, fear, hatred, anger, bigotry, etc. and who want you to fail!  

True, it's always more hurtful to be criticized by your friends than by your enemies, but still, you White House guys really need to think about this and get some perspective - the "professional left" overwhelmingly (and yes, there are exceptions) wants you to succeed at making this a better country; the "professional right" wants to "break you." Period. When you fully internalize that, you'll be better off and so will the rest of us. Thank you.

Excellent Post by Nate Silver on Liberals and the White House

Nate Silver nails it.
One problem that Obama is having -- and not just on the left, although it might be most acute there -- is the dissonance between the grand, poetic narratives of the campaign trail and the prosaic and transactional day-to-day grind of governance...


Nevertheless, I suspect that for most liberals, any real sense of progress has now been lost. Yes, the left got a good-but-not-great health care bill, a good-but-not-great stimulus package, a good-but-not-great financial reform plan: these are a formidable bounty, and Obama and the Democratic Congress worked hard for them. But they now read as a basically par-for-the-course result from a time when all the stars were aligned for the Democrats -- rather than anything predictive of a new direction, or of a more progressive future. In contrast, as should become emphatically clear on November 2nd, the reversion to the mean has been incredibly swift.

What liberals haven't had, in other words, is very many opportunities to feel good about themselves, or to feel good about the future.

Of course, it's also that the nasty economic recession that began under Bush drags on under Obama. Although I certainly believe that economic conditions are better today than they would have been without aggressive action by the federal government, most people still aren't feeling it, and that makes them grumpy and/or angry towards the people in power.  

Beyond (bad) economics, though, this really is the classic situation where expectations get way out of line with achievements.  Basically, we were promised in 2006 and 2008 that if we took back Congress and the White House, particularly with a "filibuster-proof majority" in the Senate, we'd get everything we ever dreamed of: national health care, possibly even "single payer;" a strong, comprehensive, clean energy and climate bill; immigration reform; closure of Gitmo; the rapid end of "Don't Ask Don't Tell;" the winding down of the wars begun during the Bush Administration; a reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and more broadly a return to progressive economics; investment in infrastructure, including both human (education) and physical (advanced power grids, high-speed rail, etc.) capital; more power to labor vis-a-vis business; etc., etc.  On top of all that, we were promised a fundamental change in the way Washington does business.  

How much of any of this stuff have we really gotten so far?  As Nate Silver puts it, we've gotten a bunch of "good-but-not-great" on a lot of it, not much at all on other parts (e.g., the way Washington does business). Well, sorry, but after how hard we worked the past few years, it's frustrating, dispiriting, etc. to see it wither on the vine. What about that don't Robert Gibbs and the White House understand?  And what do they really think they're going to accomplish by lashing out at their own base, while trying desperately to reason with the unreasonable on the far right (aka, today's Republican Party, who continue to call Obama a "socialist" even as he tries to be a "centrist")?  Got me.

Chap 2013?

Over at NLS, Ben's touting Chap Petersen as the possible way - the only way? - to stop Ken Kook-inelli from becoming governor of Virginia in 2013. Personally, I like Chap a lot, think he's very strong on environmental and economic "fairness" issues, and believe he'll make a great governor some day, but I also think it's way too early to be speculating much about 2013. For one thing, we have no idea if Kookinelli will run for Governor, for reelection as AG, or whether he'll be sharing a cell with Rod Blagojevich by then. Heh.  Also, we have no idea what the political climate will be in 2013, how the Bolling-Kookinelli rivalry will play out (although I presume Cooch would crush Bolling in a Republican primary or convention), to what extent Terry McAuliffe will promote his own candidacy and even lock down the governor's nomination, whether Tim Kaine will come back to run for governor again, etc., etc. A million unknowns, in other words.  

One thing I know for sure is that I don't want to see the 2009 experience repeat itself, because that was a nightmare. First and foremost, I worry that Chap! vs. T-Mac could turn into a bloodbath, allowing Rural Conservadem Creigh Deeds Part Deux (aka, Ward Armstrong) to sneak in as the two "urban crescent" Dem's destroy each other. No thanks.

Having said that, what Democrats need to do is start laying the groundwork for 2013 now. We need to be organizing, building our party, developing our candidates, defining what we stand for, speaking out against the craziness of Cooch et al, etc.  If we do that, and if Cooch turns out to be as divisive and extreme as he's been the first 7 months, then Democrats have a great chance of winning back the Virginia governor's mansion in 2013. Which means we'll need the strongest candidate, someone who can appeal both in the "urban crescent" as well as not get wiped out in the "red" parts of Virginia. Could someone with the profile of Chap Petersen do that?  Seems like it to me, especially after he annihilated the (seemingly) formidable Jeannemarie Devolites Davis in 2007. Anyway, now back to regularly scheduled programming. :)

Kaine for President?

That's what the New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman, Ray Buckley, says in today's "The Hill".
Kaine said he did not know how long he would stay on at the DNC, or what might lie ahead for his career. He said he had anticipated entering the administration in some type of education post before being asked to run party headquarters.

"This is only the beginning for Tim Kaine," said [Rep. Debbie] Wasserman Schultz. "I'm hopeful that he'll one day run for something again."

[New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray] Buckley hinted that Kaine could wage his own successful White House bid down the line.

"He certainly has a fan base in New Hampshire, if he chooses to do that," Buckley said.

Interesting, I wonder if we could see Tim Kaine and Mark Warner both running for president in 2016.  Or, might one of them run for governor again at some point?  Warner's only 55 years old (will be 61 in 2016), and Kaine's just 52 (will be 58 years old in 2016), so there's plenty of time for both.

UPDATE: Just to be clear, this post is in no way an endorsement of Tim Kaine for President. In fact, I find it hard to believe that I'd ever support Kaine for President, Governor, or any other office at this point. I mean, you never know, but after watching him cave to Dominion, Bechtel, etc. from 2006 to 2010, I really really doubt it.

Whipple Clip Dozen: Tuesday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for the Tuesday "Clips."


P.S. I'll be watching Connecticut's Democratic gubernatorial primary today, where Joe Abbey - former Petersen for Senate and Deeds for Governor campaign manager, plus Warner for Senate Deputy campaign manager - is running Ned Lamont's campaign.  Also, a great friend of mine since we were 6 years old, Brian Becker, is running for Connecticut House of Representatives - as a Democrat, of course. :) Go Brian!

UPDATE: Statements of Virginia elected officials on the Pentagon's decision on Joint Forces Command are available at The Shad Plank. Whether you agree with this decision or not (I have just started looking at it, have no opinion at this point on the merits of what Bill Gates is proposing, or on what the net impact to Virginia might be), one thing that's hilarious is to say "cut the spending" Republicans upset about government actually moving to "cut the spending!"  Apparently, when it affects your own city or your own state, all that talk turns out to have been meaningless, as we suspected all along.

Kaine: Deeds Demonstrates Why Dem’s Shouldn’t Run from Obama

I strongly agree with Tim Kaine on this one.
In an interview with The Hill, Kaine said House Democrats who do not run with Obama's agenda risk alienating their most energetic supporters.

"If you distance yourself from the president, you can pour cold water on the excitement about what he is doing," said Kaine, who alluded to Democrat Creigh Deeds's problems.

Deeds lost a special election in Kaine's home state of Virginia last year after distancing himself from Obama, who had won Virginia's electoral votes in the presidential context just a year earlier.

"I can tell you this. Everywhere I go, every last community I visit, there are energetic supporters of this president who are excited about what he is doing," Kaine said.

Along these lines, I think this story is relevant. The bottom line is that most Democrats who are going to lose this November are moderate-to-conservative "blue dogs" in the 49 districts carried by John McCain. The vast majority of Democrats "from the Democratic wing" of the party are going to be re-elected. So, the question is, does it help the "blue dogs" to avoid appearing with - or not mentioning - President Obama? I'd argue strongly "no," in that the "blue dogs" aren't going to win any Republicans or Tea Partiers to their sides, regardless, yet by dissing Obama they're going to reduce enthusiasm among the Democratic "base."  In other words, it's a "lose-lose" for Democrats in swing districts to stay away from Obama.  Don't believe me? Just ask Creigh Deeds how refusing to say he was an "Obama Democrat" worked out for him.

UPDATE: This is stupid too.

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