Patterico's Pontifications

12/4/2018

The Left Side Of The Aisle: Avenatti, Biden, And Of Course, Hillary…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:45 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Ready or not, 2020 is right around the corner. In an effort to avoid thinking about a possible Trump in 2020, I am choosing instead to post about the amusing haps on the left side of the political aisle. First, let me say this regarding the names popping up as possible contenders, and I say it with sneering gusto: These people

First, in a crushing announcement, Michael Avenatti informed America that he will not be throwing his hat into the ring after all. While claiming consideration of his family, it appears that he nonetheless truly believes he is taking the more noble path by (self-)righteously soldering on in his battle against President Trump:

“I do not make this decision lightly — I make it out of respect for my family,” said Avenatti, who first gained fame and infamy for his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in multiple legal cases involving President Donald Trump.

“But for their concerns, I would run,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter. The twice-married Avenatti has three children.

“I remain concerned that the Democratic Party will move toward nominating an individual who might make an exceptional president but has no chance of actually beating Donald Trump,” he wrote.

“The party must immediately recognize that many of the likely candidates are not battle-tested, and have no real chance at winning. We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one.”

And here is the Noble Cause:

I will continue to represent Stormy Daniels and others against Donald Trump and his cronies and will not rest until Trump is removed from office, and our republic and its values are restored.

Avenatti

In so many ways, America has dodged a serious bullet of batcrap crazy here. A Trump-Avenatti debate would be the ultimate circus, making the 2016 debates look like amateur hour. Anyway, Avenatti already has a lot on his plate:

Avenatti’s decision not to press forward with a presidential run comes several weeks after police in Los Angeles arrested him in connection with an investigation into an accustation of domestic violence lodged by an actress, Mareli Miniutti, with whom he had been living.

Avenatti is also embroiled in several legal fights related to debts involving his law firm, and an effort by Trump’s lawyers to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees from a since-dismissed defamation lawsuit by Daniels against the president.

Basta!, indeed.

Also this week, Joe Biden declared that he is the most qualified person to be president:

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday said his decision on whether to enter the 2020 presidential race will rest on a whether he and his family are “ready,” even as he argued that his strengths as a potential candidate far outweigh any perceived liabilities.

Biden’s comments came during a brief tour promoting the paperback release of his 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad,” in which he details how the death of his eldest son, Beau, from brain cancer kept him out of the 2016 presidential race.

“I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president. The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that I’ve worked on my whole life — the plight of the middle class and foreign policy,” Biden told an audience in Montana, according to The Missoula Current. “But my family and I need to decide as a unit whether we’re ready — we do everything as a family.”

Joe Biden is 76 years old. And while Bernie Sanders was 76 years old when he ran for the presidency, he didn’t bring the creepy baggage factor of being too handsy with the ladies. Biden is an anachronism in the #MeToo era. A relic from the past. A time where cuddling up to unsuspecting women was smiled upon, joked about, or people wrote it all off as “that’s just Joe being Joe.” Or worse, knew his behavior was inappropriate but said nothing – for the sake of the party. But how does that play in today’s world of heightened awareness? Do you believe Democrats would risk backing an old, white man man who has consistently viewed females as the willing recipients of his free-range hands, in spite of his years in the political arena? After Trump, one would think both parties would vigorously avoid backing anyone, no matter their level of political experience, who has demonstrated the slightest hint of impropriety toward the opposite sex. (But again, this post isn’t about the GOP and Trump…)

Maybe at the end of the day, it remains OK for the legendary former vice-president to snuggle up to females other than his wife, but not OK for everyday Joes to do the same. After all, it’s not like any abuse of power would ever happen at the hands of those holding the two highest offices in land, right?

Which leads me to another past-their-prime potential candidate: Hillary Clinton. Ugh. You might ask: Will we never be rid of the Clintons on the public stage? Don’t be silly. I bring her up because I am currently watching A&E’s “The Clinton Affair,” and find myself still marveling at the amoral and vicious ooze in which the power couple make themselves at home. Amusingly, Maureen Dowd wrote about their pathological need to be relevant:

I’m looking around Scotiabank Arena, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s a depressing sight. It’s two-for-the-price-of-one in half the arena. The hockey rink is half curtained off, but even with that, organizers are scrambling at the last minute to cordon off more sections behind thick black curtains, they say due to a lack of sales. I paid $177 weeks in advance. (I passed on the pricey meet-and-greet option.) On the day of the event, some unsold tickets are slashed to single digits.

I get reassigned to another section as the Clintons’ audience space shrinks. But even with all the herding, I’m still looking at large swaths of empty seats — and I cringe at the thought that the Clintons will look out and see that, too.

I can’t fathom why the Clintons would make like aging rock stars and go on a tour of Canada and the U.S. at a moment when Democrats are hoping to break the stranglehold of their cloistered, superannuated leadership and exult in a mosaic of exciting new faces.

What is the point? It’s not inspirational. It’s not for charity. They’re not raising awareness about a cause, like Al Gore with global warming. They’re only raising awareness about the Clintons.

It can’t be the money at this point. Have they even spent all the Goldman gold yet? Do they want to swim in their cash like Scrooge McDuck?

The Clintons’ tin cup is worthy of the Smithsonian. They hoovered more than $2 billion in contributions to their campaigns, foundation and philanthropies.

Some in Clintonworld say Hillary fully intends to be the nominee. Once more, in Toronto, she didn’t rule it out, dodging the question with a lame joke. She carries herself with the air of a president in exile. Her consigliere, Philippe Reines, has prodded reporters on including her name when they write about 2020 candidates.

The Clintons refuse to be discarded. It has been their joint project for half a century to be at the center of the public scene and debate. The way that the whole thing came crashing down in 2016 is too hard for them to bear. They would like to rewrite the ending, but there is no way to do that.

Nothing they have done lately suggests that they have learned anything, including their obtuse post-#MeToo comments about Monica Lewinsky, who has been far more candid and sympathetic in the 20th anniversary retellings of the impeachment saga. The Clintons are still unable to hold themselves accountable. The formerly golden couple who dominated their party for nearly three decades is traveling North America in a bubble, shockingly un-self-aware.

I just cannot imagine the Democratic party thinking a Biden or Clinton presidential run would be a viable option. Especially not when Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) are all flirting with a possible run.

P.S. The Washington Post reports approximately 38 individuals have expressed some interest in running for the Democratic nomination!

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Charles Cooke Hits upon Something That Bothers Me As Well

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:44 pm



[guest post by JVW]

I will post in full his post from National Review Online, since it perfectly captures something that has been brewing in my mind for some time now.

It is in no way to insult George H. W. Bush — or any other president, for that matter — to ask whether the retooling of their calendars is an appropriate way for the people of a republic to respond to the death of an elected representative. Tomorrow, the press reports, is to be a “day of mourning” — a day on which the stock market will be closed, on which the federal government will shut down, on which the House of Representatives will begin a week-long break, on which various universities will cancel classes, on which the Postal Service will halt deliveries, on which the Supreme Court will adjourn, and on which major American newspapers will postpone events that they had previously planned to hold. Across the U.S., flags will be flown at half-staff for a month.

Why? Irrespective of whether he was a great man or a poor one, George H. W. Bush was a public employee. He was not a king. He was not a pope. He did not found or save or design the republic. To shut down our civil society for a day in order to mark his peaceful passing is to invert the appropriate relationship between the citizen and the state, and to take yet another step toward the fetishization of an executive branch whose role is supposed to be more bureaucratic than spiritual, but that has come of late to resemble Caesar more than to resemble Coolidge.

George H. W. Bush was a lovely and wonderful man who served his country with distinction and honor, guided our nation as a vastly underrated (in his time) President, lived a rewarding life as a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and died in his own bed after nearly nine-and-one-half decades of life surrounded by people who loved him. His death is neither tragic nor unexpected, as it was with Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy. I am not generally a fan of the idea of “celebrating a life,” but if it were ever appropriate to do so as opposed to mourning a death then George Herbert Walker Bush is the perfect example.

We’ve put ourselves in a difficult position by turning our Presidents into idols. Whether or not you love, like, disdain, or hate Barack Obama or Donald Trump, you certainly have to realize that expecting our President to embody our hopes and dreams or to single-handedly bring about peace & prosperity is the kind of feeblemindedness and lack of (small “r”) republican spirit that we rightly disdain in banana republics and totalitarian societies. It would behoove us to start looking upon the President merely as an employee we hire on a four-year contract, renewable once, to serve as executive officer, not as some sort of mystical beacon who will lead us from our otherwise humdrum lives into the land flowing with milk and honey.

Here endeth the rant. Thanks for bearing with me, and thanks to Charles Cooke for an excellent observation.

– JVW

Macron: I Do Not Understand Incentives

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:20 am



How could this go wrong?

In a major concession by President Emmanuel Macron, France will suspend for six months a tax increase on gasoline and diesel fuel that had been slated for January, in an attempt to quell weeks of protests and rioting by the so-called Yellow Vests movement.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced the move on Tuesday after briefing lawmakers in a closed-door meeting in Parliament.

“No tax warrants putting the unity of the nation in danger,” Mr. Philippe said.

For the past three weeks, the Yellow Vests protest movement has swept across France, clashing with the police and wreaking havoc in Paris and other major cities, defacing famed monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe.

The tax was made necessary by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Thugs have been breaking old statues and generally making a criminal nuisance of themselves, but that will probably never happen again, right? Creating incentives to do x does not get you more x — that’s what I was always told!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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