Biden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility

There is a cult of civility taking root in the media and Democratic establishment. Some fetishize “get-alongism,” feting those who promise to calm the horses and restore comity in the political debate as leaders America needs. But is calm and civil discourse the ultimate objective?

...Instead of results-based centrism, today, too many Democrats propose “process centrism.” They want to get people of goodwill together, around a mythical table, to come up with good ideas. They believe they can break the fever, but the fever began before Donald Trump and likely will continue after he is gone from the White House.

Full column here...


The Hill: Impeachment Politics Are Tricky

The immediate politics for President Trump aren’t clear cut, but they seem to be for the rest of the Republicans. If half of what Robert Mueller laid out in his report concluding the Trump-Russia investigation is true, history will not be kind to Trump’s defenders. Like Congressman Amash, Republicans with conviction and future aspirations should look for ways to hold Trump accountable, even if they don’t support impeachment. In 1998, Democrats proposed censuring Clinton. Conservatives balked then, but if Congress doesn’t stand up for itself now, are they willing to accept a president with no limits?

Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) makes a compelling case for accountability, even if the president remains in office: “… There comes a point in life where we all have to make decisions based upon the fact that it is our watch. And, you know, history, I think even if we did not win, possibly, if there were not impeachment, I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution.”

Republicans, this is your watch, too.

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The last Republican patriot, or the first?

Special counsel Robert Mueller laid out clear evidence of obstruction of justice in his report to Attorney General William Barr on the Russian intrusion into America’s 2016 election campaign, yet almost every Republicans in Congress refuses to hold President Trump accountable. That is, every Republican except Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. If patriotism is love of country, and love is expressed not just in feelings but in acts of service, sacrifice or putting the country’s needs before your own, then Amash may be the last Republican patriot left in Congress.

Since assuming office, Donald Trump has insulted opponents, undermined international alliances and attacked American institutions. If a Democrat did those things, Republicans would scream bloody murder. But, despite AG Barr’s attempt to sugarcoat the Mueller report’s findings, the document lays out a pretty thorough case of obstruction of justice.

Mueller details 10 possible obstructive acts. Here are a few of the most salient:

 


Enjoy the 'summer of love,' Democrats

 

Even when you’re trailing behind, running for president is fun. Anybody who doesn’t believe that either doesn’t love politics or has never been out on the trail. There are parades and fairs, new friends and old reunions, intense drama and ridiculous comedy; but the fun begins to dissipate as the weather starts to cool and decisions get harder for voters and candidates alike. For candidates lagging behind, autumn will come in like a lion and they will leave the campaign like lambs.

Seemingly every week, new Democrats declare themselves for president. Many people fret, but why? The field is perfect. If only the Democrats could assemble their nominee like Voltron, bringing the best parts together in a single form. Democrats have candidates with outsider freshness, longtime experience, prosecutorial vigor, charming wit, leadership chops and big policy ideas.

But we don’t get to assemble our candidate like the perfect plate from a pu pu platter. Democrats will have to choose between imperfect choices. Experience makes outsiders wary of establishment conservatism. Youth and freshness worry older voters looking for stability. Big progressive ideas worry moderates in the market for a return to normalcy. Radical optimism and outsider thinking make partisan warriors wary of ideological mushiness.

 

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Jason Kander's PTSD Honesty Will Help

Last July, I sat down for a conversation with Jason Kander at Third Way’s Opportunity 2020 conference in Columbus, Ohio. The Afghan war veteran had recently decided not to run for president, campaigning for Kansas City mayor instead. His decision disappointed many Democrats, but Kander seemed excited about making a political contribution closer to home.

On stage we talked about a variety of things: the importance of entrepreneurship to local development, the triumph of passion in politics, having sons who share similar odd names. Before we finished, Kander gave his views on political courage.

“We have an awful lot of people in politics, who the hardest thing they’ve ever done in their lives is run the campaign that put them into office,” he said. “And when that’s the case, it … feels to them like the worst thing that could ever happen is losing their job, and that tends to be why we don’t have folks who maybe take the risks we need to advance.”

Today, Kander announced that he is dropping out of the Kansas City mayor’s race and pulling back from Let America Vote, his organization focused on fighting voter suppression in America. He revealed that he has been struggling with PTSD and needs to focus on his health.

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Mend capitalism, Don't end it

In the fight for America’s future, ideologues are on the march. Right-wingers make jingoistic nationalist arguments with overt doses of white supremacy. Lefties flirt hard with Democratic socialism. They are reacting to real problems: decades of stagnating wages, concentrating wealth, an aging population and crumbling infrastructure. Globalization and automation are changing the nature of work and we aren’t preparing enough citizens to fill the coming jobs.

President Donald Trump is too polarizing to lead us, but there is one national figure with an idea who unites most Americans: Beyonce. In her recent hit single with husband Jay Z, Queen Bey laid down a verse that makes a lot of sense: “Put some respect on my check. Or pay me in equity (pay me in equity) and watch me reverse out of debt.”

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Sojourner Truth and the struggle for Black freedom

Women did it again.

Scores of women won primaries in Texas on Tuesday and Democrats are poised to send the first two Latinas to Congress from the Lone Star state. This is just the latest in a string of moments since Donald Trump was inaugurated president where women have flexed their political, social and moral muscles. The Women’s March put millions of people on the streets of cities in defiance of President Trump; the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements sparked a reckoning on sexual harassment and assault; and in the Alabama U.S. Senate race, black women led the way to a Democratic victory in a bright red state.

Women are more active on more fronts than they have been in generations, and women of color are at the forefront. Sojourner Truth, who planted the aspirations of black women in the women’s rights movement, would be proud.

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