Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:47 am

[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item: A Mitt Romney/Tulsi Gabbard ticket?

It seems that Senate Republicans have come to tolerate rather than celebrate this president, who has done little to advance the typical Republican agenda. If the Senate Republicans’ tolerance for Trump has run out, House Democrats may rue the day they decided to pursue impeachment.

Senate Republicans could convict, or threaten to convict, thereby pressuring Trump to resign. They could even work out a deal by which they acquit in exchange for Trump not seeking a second term. Each of these options would leave the Republicans in need of a compromise candidate with very little time left on the clock. Republicans would need someone who understood the requirements of a national campaign, someone with widespread (and largely positive) name recognition, and someone on the record opposing both Trump and Trumpism.

Senator Mitt Romney is all of those things. Running Romney would immediately alienate the Trump base, but would attract voters from the sensible centers of both parties, along with independents, all of whom seem to be horrified by what they have heard thus far in the Democratic debates.

Romney could play this centrist position to devastating effect with just about anyone sharing the ticket, but there is one very shrewd move that would allow him to walk into the Oval Office in a landslide: Romney could pick a Democratic running mate.

But he shouldn’t pick just any Democrat. He should pick one with a growing national stature, one with the background to appeal to Republicans and Democrats alike, and one who has openly accused the Democratic Party of playing a rigged game in its primary campaign.

Mitt Romney should pick Tulsi Gabbard.

Second news item: Bitches be crazy in Massachusetts:

House bill 3719 that generated the most buzz…The legislation would make it illegal to call someone a [bitch]. It was one of 69 bills given a hearing by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

The legislation, most people would agree, is an obvious violation of the First Amendment, but nevertheless, once filed it must be given a hearing, and that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Republican Party took to Twitter to attack the bill and its sponsor, Boston Democratic Rep. Daniel Hunt.

Hunt said a constituent asked him to file it and defended himself on Twitter, writing: “One of the responsibilities of all Representatives is to serve as a conduit for direct petitions from our constituents.”

But it seems when filing the legislation with the House clerk, Hunt failed to click the checkbox to indicate it was a “by request” bill, leaving his the only name on the legislation — an oversight he probably regrets.

Massachusetts citizens have had the right to free petition since Colonial times, a right that’s enshrined in Article 19 of the Massachusetts Constitution. Anyone can write a bill, no matter how outrageous, and ask a legislator to file it on their behalf.

In the current two-year session, there are 192 such bills, according to a WBUR tally, out of more than 6,000 bills filed by lawmakers… Almost all of them — if not all of them — will ultimately die a quiet death after a public hearing, where oftentimes even the citizen backing the bill fails to show up to testify in favor of it. And just because citizens have the right to file legislation, there is no requirement that the Legislature take action on the proposal.

Having “by request” printed on the top of a bill can inoculate lawmakers from any blowback the proposed legislation may create. A lawmaker can simply step aside and in essence say, “Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.” Policies about filing a bill on behalf of a constituent vary from legislator to legislator. Some say they never file such bills, while others view it as a form of constituent service.

Third news item: The problem with Mike Pence:

It’s a trope of pro-impeachment commentary that it should be simple for Republican senators to swap out President Donald Trump, who puts them in awkward positions every day, for Vice President Mike Pence, an upstanding Reagan conservative who could start with a fresh slate in the runup to the 2020 election.

Republican senators will soon be receiving an invitation to tear apart the GOP ahead of the 2020 elections, and they are going to decline to accept it.

It’s a trope of pro-impeachment commentary that it should be simple for Republican senators to swap out President Donald Trump, who puts them in awkward positions every day, for Vice President Mike Pence, an upstanding Reagan conservative who could start with a fresh slate in the runup to the 2020 election.

The only flaw in this scenario is that it is entirely removed from reality.

If Senate Republicans vote to remove Trump on anything like the current facts, even the worst interpretation of them, it would leave the GOP a smoldering ruin. It wouldn’t matter who the Democrats nominated for 2020. They could run Bernie Sanders on a ticket with Elizabeth Warren and promise to make Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez secretary of the treasury and Ilhan Omar secretary of defense, and they’d still win.

A significant portion of the Republican party would consider a Senate conviction of Trump a dastardly betrayal. Perhaps most would get over it, as partisan feelings kicked in around a national election, but not all. And so a party that has won the popular vote in a presidential election only once since 1988 would hurtle toward November 2020 divided.

How does anyone think that would turn out?

A lot of Trump supporters are going to want to blame the Republican establishment even if Trump loses in 2020 with the backing of the united party apparatus. Imagine what they will think if a couple of dozen Republican senators decide to deny him the opportunity to run for reelection, without a single voter having a say on his ultimate fate. It’s hard to come up with any scenario better designed to stoke the populist furies of Trump’s most devoted voters.

Fourth News Item: MLB Umpire Says, My Bad:

An MLB umpire apologized this week for a tweet threatening civil war if President Trump is impeached.

“Once I read what I had tweeted I realized the violence in those words and have since deleted it,” Rob Drake said in the statement reported by ESPN. “I know that I cannot unsay the words, but please accept my sincerest apologies.”

The since-deleted tweet, posted Tuesday according to ESPN, also said Drake was planning to buy an AR-15 weapon.

“I will be buying an AR-15 tomorrow, because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020,” he tweeted.

“I especially want to apologize to every person who has been affected by gun violence in our country,” Drake continued in the statement, released Thursday night. He pledged to learn from the incident.

Have a great weekend!


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