The Walsh Dilemma

Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is (because why not?) running for President.

Polite society must tiptoe around the language because Joe Walsh is difficult to categorize. I guess he has right wing bona fides on policy but slotting him among the right or the left doesn’t really fit. Before the Civil War, politicians like Walsh were called “fire eaters,” and you knew them by their trail of bombast. While I’m sure that he knows exactly why one needs a balanced governmental budget, that never seemed to be the subjects that set Joe Walsh ablaze.

Simply, Joe Walsh is an asshole. That’s the most simple, honest, and direct way to identify him. His asshole-ery is a thing to behold, and it has always served the same purpose. Joe Walsh is an asshole so he can appear on television. Like many of the other TEA party types, Walsh figured out the asshole ratio which is if you are not appearing enough to your liking, simply be more of an asshole. This is how we had an allegedly drunken Congressman screaming out “you lie” in the middle of Obama’s State of the Union address.

This isn’t unusual. Conservatism that celebrates the asshole. Classical liberalism itself is a political ideology that bases government on telling its citizens what they cannot have. If you have empathy, that’s a tough ideology to rally around, especially if you’ve felt just how cold our society can be. Joe Walsh solves that problem because he’s a bigger asshole than you. He is an asshole so that you don’t have to be. It’s his curse.

So what does one do with these characters in our current politics? Is the enemy of my enemy my friend? Before we scamper into the Scaramucci corner, we should pause. That’s how Republicans ended up with the Chosen One. Anyone but Hilary. We should ask ourselves is we should trample where angels fear to tread.

Joe Walsh cannot help Democrats reclaim the federal government, but he can do tremendous damage to the Chosen One. Walsh needs to make enough noise that he actually draws attention from he who has been chosen. So far the President is simply ignoring his Republican primary challengers, a skill we did not know he had. Joe Walsh is an agent of chaos, one that hopefully can take some major punches before Chosen gets into the general.

Just because we are rooting for Walsh does not mean we support him. If he wants to bruise the Chosen One, have at it.

It’s not the same.

The White House plans to spend the 2020 campaign attacking individual journalists’ family members:

“It is the latest step in a long-running effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting. Four people familiar with the operation described how it works, asserting that it has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations.
The group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects. “

The difference, of course, between journos and politicians are that one is elected based on promises and must hold the other in account. Journos, through the free market, are accountable to each other. Ad hominem attacks on writers is the latest in the long line of evidence that the Chosen One simply does not get it.

The Grifters

The Chosen One’s campaign manager is living well:

“On January 3, the day of his 43rd birthday, Parscale bought a $2.4 million canal-front mansion in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Broward County real estate records show.

The newly remodeled four-bedroom house came with steam and rain showers, enough solar panels to power the house off-the-grid and 95 feet of direct waterfront with a boat lift-outfitted dock that allows immediate access to the ocean through a nearby inlet.

The house also has a hefty property-tax bill expected to be around $42,000 a year.

According to Broward County records, Parscale obtained a $2.3 million-mortgage from Iberia Bank to pay for it.

The purchase, however, came just months after the campaign consultant, who is the father of a teenage daughter, and his wife Candice spent nearly $2 million on two condos, also in Fort Lauderdale.

And this time, it was all cash.”

This is one report from the Daily Mail so we should hold out for more sourcing, but he pattern works. The Chosen One is just not good with money. The stories surrounding his inauguration are filled with grifters, thieves and reams of probably illegal transactions.

Stewart Lee got angry

Stewart Lee is a fantastic comedian in England. His immigration rant several years ago about UKIP was brilliant and prescient. His upcoming book is a collection of his columns leading up to and covering Brexit. The Guardian posted an excerpt:

“It is appropriate to describe Johnson with pure witless swearing, for that is all he deserves. He is of a political class where any insult, no matter how vicious, is acceptable, if it is delivered with the rhetorical flourishes and classical allusions of the public-school debating society. Hence, Cameron can scornfully sneer at Jeremy Corbyn and describe Dennis Skinner as a dinosaur, yet the venerable beast himself is dismissed from the house when he calls Cameron merely “dodgy”.
The problem for the pro-Europe voter currently is that while obviously despising Cameron as both a person and a politician, one nonetheless wants him to prevail over Johnson, Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and the Brexit camp.”

Pile on

The effort is on to knock Harris out of the race. Candidates want to finish what Tulsi Gabbard started…

“My two indirect experiences with Harris’s department during her tenure as attorney general (from January 2011 to January 2017) revealed a similarly callous regard for justice. The first was as a pro bono habeas investigator trying to free an innocent young man named Eric Frimpong from prison. The second was as an author chronicling the wrongful civil prosecution of a California company by both the State of California and the Department of Justice. In both, the deputy attorneys general working for Harris, if not at her behest, seemed less concerned with doing justice than with keeping the conviction count up and scoring a payday for the state.”

It’s unfair to blame Harris for the actions of the entire AG office, but it doesn’t matter. Harris’ record as a prosecutor would play well in the general but she will have trouble getting out of the primary. Hopefully she recovers but at this point, she either wins in Iowa or she’s nearly toast.

What if…

Fallows wonders –

“If an airline learned that a pilot was talking publicly about being “the Chosen One” or “the King of Israel” (or Scotland or whatever), the airline would be looking carefully into whether this person should be in the cockpit.
If a hospital had a senior surgeon behaving as Trump now does, other doctors and nurses would be talking with administrators and lawyers before giving that surgeon the scalpel again.
If a public company knew that a CEO was making costly strategic decisions on personal impulse or from personal vanity or slight, and was doing so more and more frequently, the board would be starting to act. (See: Uber, management history of.)
If a university, museum, or other public institution had a leader who routinely insulted large parts of its constituency—racial or religious minorities, immigrants or international allies, women—the board would be starting to act.
If the U.S. Navy knew that one of its commanders was routinely lying about important operational details, plus lashing out under criticism, plus talking in “Chosen One” terms, the Navy would not want that person in charge of, say, a nuclear-missile submarine. (See: The Queeg saga in The Caine Mutiny, which would make ideal late-summer reading or viewing for members of the White House staff.)”

The Chosen One would be out of office if he were a Democrat.

Kamala is officially in trouble.

She’s my candidate, so this hurts. You know where your candidate is vulnerable and for Kamala, its policy. Sucks, but that’s primary Presidential politics. It’s a blood sport. One job, one person gets the nod. The American Presidency is a lonely walk after a lonely path. Out of all politicians eligible there can be only two, then only one. The criticism of Harris are unfair but they are landing. Warren has occupied all oxygen with her dozens of policy proposals, making her opponents look like they don’t care about policy. In Harris’ case, it’s true. She doesn’t really care about policy. When the truth sticks, it can be fatal for a campaign.

Personally, I don’t care about a President’s proposed policy.* Congress legislates, the President signs off afterward. Nancy Pelosi wrote Obamacare, AOC will write 2.0. A President with strong policy positions will only be an impediment. Warren will want policy to start with her and that’s going to be a problem.

I’m going through the stages of Elizabeth Warren being the candidate. Without doubt, she is the smartest person in any room. Warren is absolutely qualified to BE Presidnet, but I’m terrified that she will not win the Presidency. Harris, Buttigieg, probably Beto and (I’m ashamed to admit, complicated reason) Gillibrand probably all win a landslide. Harris can sell history and she brings a prosecutor’s experience that contrasts perfectly with the chosen one. Chosen One supporters might even find the opportunity to troll to tempting, firing The Chosen One to hire an African American woman. Beto can do hope and change, Buttigieg would be history, and I think Gillbrand can talk to Republican women better than any candidate. I’d be confident if any of them are the nominee.** I face a spring and summer of bleeding ulcers if Warren is the nominee.

To be clear, I think Warren can win. If nominated, she should win. She’d be easily the smartest person ever elected to President. I’m not sure Warren will win. She’s been amazing on the trail, getting better one town hall at a time. If she wins the nomination, it will be because she absolutely worked her ass off and hired the best team. If you do that, that bodes well for your eventual Presidency. The trouble is that Warren, like Biden, has a track record for being undisciplined. She was a liability for the Obama administration, which is part of why she never chaired the CFPB. She made things really hard for the DNC when she said on PBS the 2016 primary was “rigged” when there is absolutely no evidence of that. The recent apology to Native Americans (in the series of her cringe-winge inducing apologies that no one asked for or wants to hear) was the latest example of how tone-deaf her self awareness can be. We don’t need that. I still think that The Chosen One will completely spin off the wheels in the next year and probably any Democrat would win, but I want a layup.

And wouldn’t it be nice if Warren could get interested in being Senate Majority leader? Can we have someone as smart and ruthless as Mitch McConnell for once? How great would it be to have Pelosi, AOC and Warren in the Senate with Harris in the White House? The person without interest in legislation and policy where she belongs, with the others where they can make the most impact.

Sigh. Warren is going to be the nominee and I need to be ready for that.

*Yep. You can probably scroll down a few hundred posts and find me saying exactly the opposite of that. This is going to happen a lot. I think differently about a lot of things now. On this website, it’s year zero and the dude who used to write for the Tumbrel was an idiot.

**Yeah. Didn’t mention Biden. Two reasons: 1. I’m not convinced he can beat The Chosen One. Joe has never ever been a good campaigner. He got famous doing work in the Senate, not running for the office. 2. Like Jeb Bush before him, Joe looks like he is in the race because someone talked him into it. He loses interest in his own answers at the debates. He does not have the requisite burning desire to get the nomination. He will definitely talk us all out of this before too long. He’ll come in third in Iowa then second in NH and drop out after that. This is an incredibly long race for a man who already looks tired.