Friday, June 15, 2018

Listen to Michelle Obama
I wish I had written this one. Brilliant. An answer key for how to win the midterms. And, honestly, winning the House at midterms is all that matters politically right now. Brilliant.

I love Samantha Bee. But the party and our candidates cannot “chosen cheap theatrics over the long game, catharsis over cunning.” We do need to mobilize our base, but when we confuse “raising our fist” with “raising a white flag” we feel better on the road to losing yet again.

Following this editorial, we need to be the party of ‘maturity, pragmatism and plain old smarts.’ Our default needs to be modelling being the adult in the room, enacting a calm but tough voice for families and jobs and decency. 

“When you answer name-calling with name-calling and tantrums with tantrums, you’re not resisting him. You’re mirroring him. You’re not diminishing him. You’re demeaning yourselves. Many voters don’t hear your arguments or the facts, which are on your side. They just wince at the din.”

Yes, our Facebook friends cheer, but our responsibility is to speak in ways that make sense to average families…not our own private choir. When we let mobilizing our base become all we do, we “permit them to see us as we see Trump: deranged. Why would any voter choose a different path if it goes to another ugly destination?”

We have already seen some success and I applaud the party (and Sam Bee for mobilizing our base) for focusing on winning.

Many Democrats voters get it, choosing House candidates whose appeals were tempered and whose profiles make them formidable general-election contenders. They’re the best bets for wooing less fiercely partisan voters and snatching seats currently in Republican hands.

These candidates strike fear in the hearts of Trump and his basket of enablers.
We cannot get “bogged down in impeachment talk, which can sound to many voters like a promise of ceaseless partisan rancor and never-ending Washington paralysis.” Stop frothing at the mouth about Trump and stop comparing Trump to Hitler, because that only works in our own private echo chamber.

“I’m not urging complacency. But when you invoke the darkest historical analogies, you lose many of the very Americans you’re trying to win over. What you’re saying isn’t what they’re seeing. It’s overreach in their eyes.

We need average Americans to step up, and I am confident they will. But we also need to help create conditions that make that easier, not harder.

“The more noise, the less discernment. The more fury, the less focus.”

As one of our most important leaders said… “When they go low, we go high,” said Michelle Obama. Let’s heed her call.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Focus on Midterms
Unifying against ignorance and hate to ensure we take back the House at the Midterms should be our prime directive between now and November.

To do this, consider these three steps.

Resist getting sucked into the distraction-by-design drama of Trump tweets. Encourage others to do the same, and in conversation, gently try to redirect from his tweets to just about any other topic. This often means turning off MSNBC and CNN (and Fox) since these are addicted to focusing nearly exclusively on Trump tweets, much to his delight.
Dial down our own drama. Make The News Hour and NPR our daily electronic news media. Maybe even add one of the three networks, because while flawed they are all three more dull than drama-driven.

Then, try to hold two contradictory ideas in our minds at the same time: we must find any way to remain united as the decent folks opposed to ignorance, hate and indecency AND we need to do this without contributing to mobilizing his base (or even better, contributing to pulling some of his supporters back into the mainstream). So while we are united by our shared desire to remove the most indecent and ignorant and hateful president of our lifetime…we also recognize that there are some whose life struggles feel so hopeless that they supported a disruptor (and if we can stop calling ‘them’ idiots, we might be able to welcome them back into the fold.) And win the House.

In response a friend posted about how the Dems keep getting it wrong…the problem is the Dems…. Since I must assume he did not miss my point, I initially conclude he would rather have a President Trump than a moderate Democrat. But then I dialed it back, trying to take my own advice, and conclude that, of course, it is important for Dems to pick candidates who can win. I prefer, however, to communicate this message without wrapping it in ‘the Dems are the problem’ packaging, because doing that makes it harder to pick candidates who can win and for candidates who are picked to win.

So, I added a fourth step.

Schram's editorial in today's ABJ noted this about the overlap between Bobby Kennedy and Wallace voters: 'A Newark mailman wearing a Wallace button boasted proudly that he had Bobby’s autograph back home, adding: “He had the same thing Wallace has got that none of the other politicians have: guts.”' There are some (perhaps many) Trump voters we cannot get to open their eyes and hearts, but we can ignore them because it is the angry moderate, the Kennedy-Wallace voter, we need to bring home. And maybe I should have added a fourth step: until we have removed the clear and present danger that is Trump in the WH, we should direct all of our criticism at the Republicans. All of it. After we save the world, we can return to our internal battles.

It is always hard to talk about politics, because there is a lot at stake and significant room for honest disagreement.

It is harder when Trumpism reigns. Must win House in midterms.

Since this is (in some ways) a continuation of my thinking above, from the next day, I will add it here...

I did not vote for him. I consider him to be just about the worst possible role model, whose approach to governance is undermining respect for the rule of law and democratic decision-making. At the same time, I see no value in replicating his approach by dismissing anything he says or does just because he said it or did it.

With that in mind, and with all the usual caveats about ‘time will tell’ and verification and ‘why did he have to do even this is such a tawdry manner,’ I think it is important to recognize that an agreement with North Korea centering on steps toward denuclearization and normalization of our relationship, however small those steps, ought to be seen as a step in the right direction. I thought President Obama was right to say he was ready to speak with our enemies (and it is galling to watch Republicans praise this president for doing just that after insisting Obama was traitorous for even suggesting such a thing).

I consistently struggle to understand the logic (if that is the right word) behind this president’s decision making. I am not yet convinced, even in this case, that there is a coherent plan (beyond enhancing his brand). But one of the most frustrating aspects of both his presidency and his enablers treatment of the Obama presidency is there repeated failure to exercise forbearance and recognize when the other side does something good for the country (or when their own side needs to reconsider). So, I do not want to replicate that dualistic and unpatriotic and dishonest approach to thinking and talking about politics. This editorial helped me get a small glimpse into the president’s tactical thinking here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Suns want another top ten pick. Give them our #8 if the agree to also take JR, Korver and Hill (all under contract). There are all under contract.

  • 1.      Kevin Love
  • 2.      Tristan Thompson
  • 3.      J.R. Smith
  • 4.      Larry Nance Jr.
  • 5.      George Hill,
  • 6.      Kyle Korver
  • 7.      Jordan Clarkson
  • 8.      Ante Zizic
  • 9.      Cedi Osman
  • 10. LeBron

These are not under contract.
1.      Calderon
2.      Green
3.      Hood
4.      Perkins
5.       Okaro White

Ten under contract. Let’s assume they let the other five go (I do not know if White is any good and Hood might be worth keeping, but let’s start there).

Then in the ten, let’s say Hill has value enough to get a low pick in return. Korver and Clarkson might also be marketable, maybe even JR, if we do not expect much in return. If we could keep Hood, and if we target getting a Chris Paul type start guard. Then we dump Hill, Korver and Clarkson. Get Paul. If we instead target Kwahi as small forward, we may want to keep Clarkson (again, better if we could keep Hood and dump Clarkson).

Monday, June 4, 2018

Civility and Honesty

Ruth Marcus helps, again, as we struggle to sort out the damage to civility and democracy associated with Trumpism.

Building on her analysis, I suggest we need to link head and heart to remind ourselves how easily we forgive Samantha Bee, probably on grounds that we think she is right, and yet simultaneously find it unimaginably ignorant and indecent that anyone might forgive Barr or the president for similar types of statements.

This makes sense to me. At the same time, I am not sure where to go with it. But civility requires not only trying to speak the truth but also trying to be honest.

If our goal is to save democracy, then it might be best to use this as one guide for how to win back the House at the midterms. Let the indecency of Trump and his enablers speak for itself (and it will impact some voters), but do not dwell on this as our platform. We need an alternative vision, advanced by credible and decent and smart and moderate candidates who speak to our base and to independents, including a segment of those who voted for Trump.

Try to hold onto our own outrage at Trump and company without directing that same anger toward anyone who speaks positively of his tax cut or approach to Korea or general tendency to be disruptive. Find candidates and platforms that can then attract the attention of some of these Trump supporters.

I got nothing. The news remains exhausting since the election.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Russia Investigation Targets Actual Crimes 
and Very Real (and Ongoing) Threats to Our National Security

Clinton email investigation

2 years, 0 indictments, 0 convictions
Benghazi investigation
4 years, 0 indictments, 0 convictions
White Water investigation
6 years, 0 indictments, 0 convictions

Trump-Russia investigation
1 year, 19 indictments, 4 convictions
…and still counting

...Unlike Earlier Investigations Created as Political Spectacles... that simply wasted taxpayer dollars and distracted us from addressing more pressing problems with actual fake news...this investigation matters and has already demonstrated that fact with concrete results...

Compare that to choosing instead to bloviate about emails and Benghazi for reasons that have nothing to do with national security or respecting the rule of law or addressing problems to help improve the lives of average families.