Patterico's Pontifications


Joe Biden To Black Voters: If You’re Trying To Decide Between Trump Or Me, ‘You Ain’t Black’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:11 am

[guest post by Dana]

So, this happened:

Joe Biden defended his legislative record in an often contentious Friday morning interview with Charlamagne Tha God, the host of the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club,” and argued that his presidential campaign was doing enough to reach out to black voters. At one point, Biden argued that black voters undecided on whether to vote for him or for President Trump “ain’t black.”


Charlamagne tha God: (17:15)
Listen, you got to come see us when you come to New York VP Biden.

Joe Biden: (17:18)
I will.

Charlamagne tha God: (17:19)
Because it’s a long way until November. We got more questions.

Joe Biden: (17:22)
You got more questions but I tell ya, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.

Charlamagne tha God: (17:28)
It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact I want something for my community. I would love to see-

After criticism came from both sides of the aisle because WHO SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THAT, Biden was compelled to apologize for his gaffe explain himself in a phone call with members of the U.S. Black Chambers:

“I should not have been so cavalier. I’ve never, never, ever taken the African American community for granted.”

“I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier. … No one should have to vote for any party based on their race, their religion, their background,” Biden said. “There are African Americans who think that Trump was worth voting for, I don’t think so. I’m prepared to put my record against his. That was the bottom line and it was ah — it was really unfortunate I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.”

Hm, was that being “cavalier,” or was that just being flippant, disrespectful, and arrogant? I’m going with the latter three…

Black Republicans were vocal in their criticism of Biden:

…Michigan Senate candidate John James, who addressed Biden in a tweeted video: “You challenging me and millions of other people out there on their blackness, descendants of slaves, from you is some seriously condescending, out of touch bullcrap,” and he questioned whether Biden should “even be running for president in the Democratic Party who says they’re for black people.”

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott told reporters on a Trump campaign call, “I thought to myself, I’ve been black for 54 years. I was struck by the condescension and the arrogance.” Scott urged his Senate colleagues to disavow Biden’s remarks and added, “Race baiting in the 21st century is an ineffective tool to attract one of the most intelligent voting blocs in the nation. He should respect African-American voters as individuals, not as a part of a group or a monolithic group of people.”

Biden’s senior advisor, Symone D. Sanders defended Biden, saying the comments were made in jest:

“The comments made at the end of the Breakfast Club interview were in jest, but let’s be clear about what the VP was saying: he was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day. Period,”

Here are a few varied responses to Biden’s comments from the black community:

And then there was bit of insight from The Root:

First, he keeps calling Charlamagne, “man.”

“I’m following the rules, man.”

“Totally different, man.”

This is Biden’s version of a blaccent. This is the thing he’s doing to make himself cool and hip to the young black community. Imagine a white guy calling you his main man; that’s the way Biden says it. Except, he doesn’t realize he’s playing himself and the community he’s supposed to be reaching out to. Biden isn’t alone in this.

This is a thing that out-of-touch white politicians do all the time. I call it the Love Don’t Co$t a Thing move. It goes like this: Can’t Buy Me Love is a teen romantic comedy that premiered in 1987. It’s an underrated classic that centers around a geeky kid using his savings to pay a cheerleader to help him be cool. When Hollywood wanted to re-create the success of Can’t Buy Me Love, they went and grabbed a young Nick Cannon to star in a remake called Love Don’t Co$t a Thing. Two things are wrong with this idea: The first is that black audiences didn’t like the original movie. The second is that in order to get black audiences to come out, the studio had to hip-hop the title up a bit with that dollar sign for an “s.” What the studio didn’t realize and what Biden doesn’t realize is doing that is degrading and shows just how out of touch they are with the community they’re trying to reach.

You don’t endear yourself to black people by trying to talk the way you believe they do. You endear yourself to black people—hell, all people—by being genuine…

During the interview, Biden also confirmed that he was considering a black woman as a running mate:

Biden also “guaranteed” that he was considering a black woman to serve as his vice president. CBS News reported that Biden is vetting Amy Klobuchar, who is white, as a potential vice presidential pick. She is one of several contenders being scrutinized for the job by Biden aides.

“I guarantee you, there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple,” Biden said.

Biden may feel compelled to choose a black woman for the vice president slot because of his gaffe. But if it blows over and is dismissed with an exasperated “Oh, that’s just Joe being Joe” eyeroll, then his options for a vice president remain open.

So why did Biden act as if he was entitled to the black vote? Because he really believes he is, of course:

He said it because he meant it. It’s not just that he believes his record on racial issues is better than Trump’s, it’s that he’s willing to demagogue racial identity to help his party. He did it eight years ago, infamously, when he told a black audience that Republicans want to “put y’all back in chains.” Whatever the particulars of his record and Trump’s, he uttered a party orthodoxy this morning so commonplace that I think you could take literally any Democratic politician in the country with literally any Republican opponent and they’d offer the same view (privately) of whether they’re entitled to black votes or not.

Bearing in mind that Biden is a long-practiced politician and a spectacular schmoozer with all the accompanying ambition (obviously), I think he jumped at the opportunity to remind black voters that, because he is in their corner, they should be in his corner. In other words, it was just politics as usual for the Democrat. Not a flattering picture of Biden, and certainly not a flattering picture of how Biden views black voters. But there were also practical political reasons that prompted Biden’s (risky) cringe-inducing-foot-in-mouth-over-familiarity:

First, after becoming VP to the first black president and then turning the tide of this year’s primaries via black voters in South Carolina, he may believe he’s got enough cred banked with black Americans that he’s entitled to be racially presumptuous in a way most whites aren’t. He has special privileges. Not so special that he can get away with anything — he’s not going to call anyone “my nigga,” I hope — but special enough that, sure, he’ll amiably question your blackness if you support Trump. His problem is that his self-perceived privileges aren’t clearly defined even to him, which led to him crossing the line this morning.

Second, he may be panicked that he’s underperforming with black voters. Sure, he still leads Trump head to head in every national poll, but the battleground polls haven’t been quite as solid for him and some of the data even in national polling has looked worrisome for his campaign among nonwhites…

Put it all together and Biden may be feeling anxious about his hold on the black vote. He’ll win it by a landslide, needless to say, but the exact margin of that landslide will matter to the final outcome of the election. He wants to duplicate Obama’s gigantic edge among African-Americans in 2008 and 2012 and maybe feels like he *should* be duplicating it because of his bio — but he isn’t, at least not yet. So maybe that anxiety led him into an unusually crass and desperate formulation of what black voters supposedly owe him this fall.

Meanwhile, Democratic strategists and party officials are hoping to convince former President Obama to use his immense popularity to draw in more voters and critical Democrat constituencies that are crucial for a Biden victory. Biden’s attempt to define what makes someone black certainly certainly wasn’t helpful to the cause.



David Duke Adapts Anti-Semitic Meme To Target Blacks

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:00 pm

You may have read that a black church in Mississippi was burned and spray-painted with “Vote Trump.” NPR:

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the vandalizing and burning of a black church in Mississippi. “Vote Trump” had been spray-painted on a wall.

As Jim Jamitis noted earlier today, this could either be a genuine hate crime or a hoax. And, of course, there is nothing inherently racist about noting the possibility of a hoax here. Especially on campuses, alleged anti-black hate crimes turn out to be hoaxes often enough that it would be irresponsible not to consider the possibility.

But . . .

But former KKK Grand Wizard and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate David Duke has a funny way of expressing this concern. Duke tweeted out a picture of the church in question with the following comment:


Just WTF is that supposed to mean? Not being conversant with racist and anti-Semitic memes, I had to get someone to explain it to me on Twitter. Fortunately, Ashley Parker on Twitter set me straight:

And here is the cartoon:

hey rabbi, whatcha doing?

Charming, isn’t it? The hooked nose is especially telling. Duke has the meme down cold, right down to the spelling of “watcha.”

I’m so pleased Donald Trump refused to condemn David Duke and then lied about why.

Ain’t it great what Donald Trump has helped embolden in this country? Aren’t we just all so gosh-darned PROUD?

I know, I know. I’m just “virtue-signaling” here. That’s what the Trumpers call any criticism of bad behavior, right?


[Cross-posted at RedState.]


Ain’t It A Beautiful Day? When You Can Visit A Political Website and Find A Passage As Reassuring As This:

Filed under: 2008 Election,Current Events,General,Politics — WLS @ 2:56 pm

[Posted by WLS] 

From Politico’s top dudes, Harris, Vande Hei, and Allen:

Obama’s failure to win Ohio and Texas and lock down the nomination — combined with Clinton’s newly defensible decision to press on despite a deficit in delegates — virtually guarantees Democrats a draining contest that will give Republicans a months-long head-start on the general election.

It will heighten racial, ethnic, gender, and class divisions already on stark display, raise awkward questions about the legitimacy of the nominating process, and inflict potentially lasting wounds on the eventual winner.

And forget about any chance that this looming brawl will be quieted by claims from Obama and commentators that Clinton has no reasonable path to victory.

Yes, Obama’s math is impressive — more delegates, more popular vote support, more states won. But Clinton aides argue reasonably that a race this close can be altered by a virtually limitless number of tactical maneuvers, unexpected events, or shifts in public perception.

For now, Clinton’s victories validated a last-ditch strategy that aides acknowledge rests overwhelmingly on persuading Democrats that the most credible black presidential contender in American history — despite his lead — is too untested to be awarded the nomination.
Simply put, there is now no way Clinton can win without inviting not only disappointment but a powerful sense of grievance among the Democratic party’s most loyal constituency, Obama’s fellow African-Americans.

The preparedness argument will be coupled, her advisers say, with two additional objectives that also are custom-made to produce months of chaos and ill will.

The first is an in-the-trenches fight to persuade unelected super-delegates to nominate Clinton as the stronger general election candidate even though Obama almost certainly will be leading among regular delegates.

The second is an effort to seat delegations from Florida and Michigan — where Clinton won — even though both pledged not to campaign there and Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan. Democratic rules currently do not recognize those states because they acted unilaterally to schedule their primaries.

But if Clinton wins Pennsylvania — where she is for the moment the favorite — there is no reason to suppose that the nominating contest will be any more settled than it is today.

It will no longer be possible for Democratic National Committee chairmen and other party leaders to avert their gaze from the stand-off, as they have for all practical purposes been doing for several months.

Some Clinton aides Tuesday night indicated the campaign might be open to a re-vote in these states, as the best chance to get these delegations seated and backing her. 

Ahhhh — the sound of a coalition party in action.


Joe Biden Does It Again

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:57 am

[guest post by Dana]

Joe Biden is attempting to clarify some questionable remarks he made yesterday during an interview with NPR’s Garcia Navarro. The Democratic presumptive nominee suggested that the nation’s Black community lacks the diversity of the Hispanic community:

Here is the relevant portion of the interview (I’ve included a longer lead-in than is in the video):

Lulu Garcia-Navarro: (31:30) I have a few questions that I’d just like to get through because they are incredibly important to the Latino community. First of all, you are extending TPS, temporary protected status, to Venezuelans. Cubans though, are now being deported in unprecedented numbers. Would you stop those deportations?

Joe Biden: (31:48) What I said, I’m going to look at every single country in the world that in fact is being… and this guy’s sending them back. The reason why I came up with Venezuela is he not even allowing it to exist in the first place. And so the TPS program is something I will move on the first day I’m in office to make sure that we extend it to people. For too long we didn’t get it right, but here’s the deal. I think that we should be extending it. Anybody can prove that they are in jeopardy to go back to their country and the reason they came in the first place. They should be able to stay in the United States of America until the circumstance changes in our country. And that’s why, by the way, I put that program together to provide… Oh, go ahead. I’m sorry.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro: (32:41) No. No. Are you going to reengage with Cuba though? I mean, I’m specifically wondering about the Florida communities that are incredibly interested in the Cuba issue and see status given to Venezuelans while Cubans are being deported. So will you engage with Cuba?

Joe Biden: (33:03) The answer is yes. Yes. Yes. And by the way, what you all know, but most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things. You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you’re in Arizona. So it’s a very different, a very diverse community.

Before Biden’s attempted clarification, campaign advisor Symone Sanders tried to tamp down any blowback:

If you look at the full video and transcript, it’s clear that Vice President Biden was referring to diversity of attitudes among Latinos from different Latin American countries. The video that is circulating is conveniently cut to make this about racial diversity but that’s not the case.

However, when Biden attempted to clarify his comments, he once again contrasted Latino and Black Americans explicitly on the topic of national and cultural origin:

“We can build a new administration that reflects the full diversity of our nation. The full diversity of the Latino communities,” Biden said. “Now when I mean full diversity, unlike African American community, many other communities, you’re from everywhere. From Europe. From the tip of South America, all the way to our border and Mexico and in the Caribbean. And different backgrounds, different ethnicities, but all Latinos.”

And last night, in a series of tweets, he made further efforts to clean up his mess:

Yesterday’s mishap was preceded by Biden snapping at a Black reporter who asked whether he had taken a cognitive test like President Trump:

Errol Barnett: (37:41) Mr. Vice President, your opponent in this election, President Trump, has made your mental state a campaign topic. And when asked in June, if you’d been tested full cognitive decline, you’ve responded that you’re constantly tested in effect because you’re in situations like this on the campaign trail. But please clarify specifically, have you taken a cognitive test?

Joe Biden: (38:04) No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? Come on man. That’s like saying, “Before you got in this program, if you take a test where you’re taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junky?”

Errol Barnett: (38:17) What do you say to President Trump who brags about his test and makes you a message say an issue for voters?

Joe Biden: (38:27) Well, if he can’t figure out the difference between an elephant and a lion, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Did you watch that? Look, come on, man. I know you’re trying to goad me, but I mean, I’m so forward-looking to have an opportunity to sit with the President or stand with the President in debates. There going to be plenty of time. And by the way, as I joke with him… I shouldn’t say it. I’m going to say something I probably shouldn’t say. Anyway, I am very willing to let the American public judge my physical as well as my mental fitness and to make a judgment about who I am and what state of affairs I have, what kind of physical shape I’m in, what kind of mental shape I’m in.

Of course, Trump seized on the opening provided by Biden:

And he continued his attack this morning:

These latest gaffes follow Biden’s admonishment of Black voters when he told them earlier this year: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” He then later blamed his foot-in-mouthiness on Black radio show host Charlamagne tha God for having “set him up”.

Also, during his run for the nomination, he implied that “poor kids” are Black or Brown:

“We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

He paused, then quickly clarified, “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids.”

His racial pandering is nothing new.

Meanwhile, although Biden still leads Trump in most polls, it’s by a lesser margin:

Less than three months ahead of November’s election, polling averages show the presumptive Democratic nominee’s advantage dropped roughly 3 points between late June and early August.

The latest figure, released by news site and data aggregator Real Clear Politics (RCP), placed Biden’s lead over Trump at 6.4 points as of Thursday. The number averaged national election survey results collected between July 21 and August 5.

One month earlier, RCP’s national averages pointed to a 9-point Biden lead, as Trump’s approval ratings dropped amid resurgences in coronavirus cases, soaring unemployment and the federal government’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests occurring across the country.

Biden and Trump have committed to three debates. Anticipating a surge in early voting, the Trump campaign had requested a fourth debate, but that request was turned down by the Debate Commission. There are concerns that, if Biden’s lead holds, he might back out of the debates. There have also been calls to end presidential debates altogether.

88 days until the election…



Biden: Trump Is America’s First Racist President (Um, About That…)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

A reminder that while Joe Biden is comparatively normal compared to Donald J. Trump, he’s still a racial panderer:

Joe Biden said Wednesday that President Donald Trump was the country’s “first” racist president…. “We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed. They’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.”

ORLY? Let’s put to the side the ones who owned slaves, way back in the day. What about just last century?

President Woodrow Wilson, the country’s 28th president, is having his name removed from Princeton University’s public policy school after recent protests against institutional racism and police brutality. Wilson, who served in the early 20th century, supported segregation and imposed it on several federal agencies.

These quotes are from Vox, to be sure, but they’re quotes:

Elsewhere in the book, Wilson attacked Reconstruction on the grounds that “the dominance of an ignorant and inferior race was justly dreaded.” He was strongly against black suffrage: “It was a menace to society itself that the negroes should thus of a sudden be set free and left without tutelage or restraint.” He praised those freed slaves who “stayed very quietly by their old masters and gave no trouble” but bemoaned that they were the exception, the being “vagrants, looking for pleasure and gratuitous fortune” who inevitably “turned thieves or importunate beggars. The tasks of ordinary labor stood untouched; the idlers grew insolent; dangerous nights went anxiously by, for fear of riot and incendiary fire.”

At the end of Reconstruction, “Negro rule under unscrupulous adventurers had been finally put an end to in the South, and the natural, inevitable ascendancy of the whites, the responsible class, established.” In a 1881 article that went unpublished, Wilson defended the South’s suppression of black voters, saying that they were being denied the vote not because their skin was dark but because their minds were dark (yes, really).

Frankly, Lincoln said some similar things about blacks, but he did a lot for them. Wilson did nothing and was particularly racist even for his time.

Biden’s tendency to weaponized race (“you ain’t black”) is one of the least attractive things about the man and his candidacy.


Charlamagne tha God And Rush Limbaugh Have A Chat

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:18 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In the midst of everything else going on, I see that Rush Limbaugh and Charlamagne tha God hung out yesterday, and their conversation aired this morning. As you recall, last week, Joe Biden “blamed” Charlamagne for setting him up when he made his infamous “…then you ain’t black” gaffe. Anyway, the two radio hosts agreed about George Floyd’s murder, and that the three other officers should face charges:

During the conversation, Limbaugh, who has been outspoken about the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, did not hesitate to speak forcefully about the killing of the unarmed black man. “The George Floyd story is being lost,” Limbaugh said.

“It sickens me what happened to him. Legitimate, national outrage about a policeman’s criminal brutality has been hijacked – and I don’t want to forget about George Floyd. What happened to George Floyd sickened me and I wanted to reach out to you and tell you all this.” Limbaugh said. “I want to make sure you have no doubt and I’m not the only American who feels this way – the senselessness of it. You know, we’re only given one life… but George Floyd had his taken away from him. He didn’t lose it. He had it taken away from him.”

“There shouldn’t be legalized murder… George Floyd, by everything I’ve been able to tell, was a good guy,” Limbaugh said. “I think that cop should be charged with first-degree murder.”

Here’s an excerpt of where they differed in opinion, and it was a compelling exchange:

In response to a question from Charlamagne Da God about why Limbaugh felt so passionate about this particular incident, Limbaugh said “I’m not tolerant with any of them but I’m fed up with it, Charlamagne.” He continued: “To me, and I know you’re going to disagree with me on this, this is not America.” After Charlagmane pushed back saying it’s “definitely America,” Limbaugh replied, “[b]ut it’s not what it could be.”

“But for who though, Rush?” Charlagmane responded. “I think it’s easy for you to say because you’re a white male and that comes with a different level of privilege.” He continued: “And I do think America does work, but it works for the people who it’s designed to work for. Doesn’t work for everybody else the way it works for you.”

The full transcript is here.

You can listen to the conversation here.



New Political Camp Ads From Trump and Biden Camps

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:05 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Obviously Joe Biden served the Trump campaign some serious red meat with his “you ain’t black” foot-in-mouth moment last Friday, and as a result, they produced a new campaign ad. Here is “Does Joe Biden Take Black People for Granted?”:

Although it’s just a :31 second spot, the ad says pointedly gets the message across: Biden shot his mouth off, and whether he intended to say that he was the self-assigned arbiter of blackness or not, that’s what he did, and the appearance of black Trump supporters in the spot sends the message to viewers that they alone will decide who is black, not some old white guy in his basement. I think the brevity of the ad works to its advantage. It’s uncluttered, the point is easily made, and there is no question about whether Biden actually said such a thing. Although it would be understandable to question it BECAUSE WHO SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THAT!

The Trump campaign store is also selling #YouAin’tBlack T-Shirts:


Black Voices for Trump also parlayed Biden’s gaffe into a brief ad that gets straight to the point. Here’s “You Ain’t Black”:

Joe Biden’s campaign released a new ad as well. It’s a brief but powerful ad that shows footage of Trump golfing this past weekend interspersed with shots of health care workers and a counter tallying the number of Covid-19 deaths to date:

I like this ad because it’s uncluttered as well, and not clumsy and overpopulated with data (like his previous ad). It’s to the point, says a lot in a short period of time, and the side-by-side shots of Trump golfing as people die will hit home with Americans. You should know that Trump defended his decision to golf this weekend, by blaming, well, uh, I’m not exactly sure who… but someone!


this one

Trump’s tweet defending his decision to golf came after Joe Biden criticized him for golfing, and for his lack of leadership in everything:

Anyway, there you have it. Two old white guys duking it out on Twitter and in campaign ads. Obviously, being the best and the brightest is not a prerequisite for the presidency.



Who Gets the California Senate Appointment?

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:02 pm

[guest post by JVW]

With what now looks to be a near ironclad certainty that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next President and Vice-President of the United States, California is left with an open Senate seat to fill for the next two years. Given that the Golden State votes overwhelmingly Democrat, and given that there is no shortage of ambitious politicians who are dying for a shot at climbing the ladder (this is only the second Senate seat opening here since 1992), one might be forgiven for believing this will be a pretty straightforward decision for Governor Gavin Newsom to make. One would be wrong. Democrat politics, though dominant in our avocado republic, are beset by wide divisions along the lines of race/ethnicity, ideology, and geography. It’s a minefield in which our governor, who harbors serious ambitions of his own, will have to tread lightly.

I’m going to immediately dismiss the idea that Governor Newsom will appoint himself to the Senate seat (which of course means that it is bound to happen). He’s a first-term governor who, as I just mentioned, has his eyes set on higher office, and abandoning this post right now two years into his administration with the state’s finances in great disarray and all sorts of unresolved issues hovering over us like a Sword of Damocles would look craven and cowardly, and almost surely come back to haunt him in a future election. So let’s rule that option out from the get-go. Here are the variables with which the governor must contend:

Ever since Pete Wilson of San Diego resigned his Senate seat to assume the governor’s office and summarily appointed Anaheim’s John Seymour to replace him, every single elected U.S. Senator from the Golden State has come from the Bay Area. Seymour lost his election campaign in 1992 to Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, and in the same election her neighbor Barbara Boxer of Marin County replaced the retiring Alan Cranston from the San Francisco Peninsula. When Sen. Boxer retired, she was of course replaced by Kamala Harris of Berkeley and San Francisco, though it’s notable that upon winning her election Ms. Harris chose to relocate with her husband to the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, perhaps with a nod towards ingratiating herself with her southern constituents who comprise close to two-thirds of the state’s population. With both Governor Newsom and his predecessor hailing from the Bay Area, I am certain that Southern California Democrats are going to lobby hard for one of their own to be appointed to the seat.

Although California is far, far less evenly divided than the rest of the nation would appear to be, Tuesday’s election should give Golden State progressives pause if they had assumed that hyper-wokeness and democratic socialism is what our state’s voters are demanding. The epic failure of Prop 16, which would have had the effect of immediately reimplementing affirmative action in university admissions and allowing it once again in state contracting, is a wake-up call to the brigades of the woke. At the same time, our Democrat-dominated state also appears to have voted against an law previously passed by the legislature to end cash bail for those convicted of crimes and shot down yet another attempt to expand rent control throughout the state. There’s even a fair chance that the attempt by California progressives to institute a massive tax increase by refiguring property tax assessments on businesses will eventually fail, though the early lead for the “No” side might very well be reversed by the time all the ballots are, ahem, “counted.”

So the setbacks to the progressive agenda combined with the potential that California Republicans might hold on to a closely-contested House seat as well as pick-up two seats by ousting Democrat incumbents should be a sign to Governor Newsom that our lurch leftward may have reached its limits. It’s kind of hard to forecast what will be going on two years from now, but given that the off-year elections are usually fraught with peril for the incumbent President’s party, would the governor be prudent in eschewing appointing a left-wing firebrand and instead making a safer, more business-friendly moderate choice with an eye set towards November two years from now?

Race and Ethnicity
This may perhaps be the deadliest minefield of all for our privileged heterosexual white male governor to negotiate. Kamala Harris was of course the first black Senator elected from California, and she was also the second Asian-American (after Republican S. I. Hayakawa of San Francisco, who served from 1977-83), and the third woman (after Feinstein and Boxer). Given that Sen. Harris’s first term will be truncated, an argument can be made that an African-American ought to be appointed to the seat to at the very least finish out her term, especially given their loyalty to the party throughout the years.

But hang on: Latinos are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the state, they now represent nearly four times the voting share that blacks represent, and they have not yet ever had one of their own as a Senator for the Golden State. They too have been a reliable voting bloc for the Democrat Party, so there’s a very strong argument to be made that they are due. Asians remain a small percentage of the overall electorate (5%), barely half of what blacks represent, and they are far less committed to Democrats than blacks or Latinos are, so sorry about that Ted Lieu, this ain’t gonna be your year.

Now that the parameters are in place, let’s take an alphabetical look at some of the names that might be under consideration. If I am missing anyone please mention them in the comments and we can discuss their relative merits.

Pete Aguilar
Pros: Latino from San Bernardino County. Has a pretty decent representation of traditional Democrat positions on the issues. Was a small-town (Redlands) mayor and has cooperated with Republicans as a member of Congress.
Cons: Probably not progressive enough for the state party as a whole. Quiet and unassuming, likely hasn’t done enough self-promotion to attract Newsom’s notice. Had you heard of him before this blog post?
Odds: 20 to 1. Would likely be a decent, if boring, choice.

Nanette Barragán
Pros: Latina from Los Angeles. Daughter of Mexican immigrants. Young. Has law degree from USC and is therefore dialed-in to the powerful Trojan alumni. Would be quite appealing to feminists and progressives.
Cons: Is only finishing her second term as a Congresswoman. Hasn’t yet made a name for herself statewide, let alone on the national stage. Could be considered too inexperienced for the role.
Odds: 10 to 1. She would be an attractive choice if Newsom is convinced she is up to the task.

Karen Bass
Pros: Black woman from Los Angeles. More an old-time neighborhood pol than an ideologue. Might be one of the stronger bets to hold the seat in 2022.
Cons: Underwhelming intellect, not a gifted orator, seen by committed progressives as being too pro-status quo.
Odds: 4 to 1. Has to be considered the betting favorite early on, considering she also allegedly made Joe Biden’s Vice-Presidential shortlist.

Xavier Beccera
Pros: Latino from Los Angeles. Does the party’s dirty work and is likely owed quite a few favors. Has already won statewide election, so knows what it takes to succeed.
Cons: Not much more than a fixer, devoid of any ethics whatsoever. There doesn’t seem to be much to him other than a rancid career in politics.
Odds: 25 to 1. Becerra is lucky that his questionable past has thus far escaped serious scrutiny. That might not be the case if he were to be appointed.

Tony Cárdenas
Pros: Latino from Los Angeles. Popular with the “go soft on juvenile crime” crowd. Generally pro-business and thus acceptable to moderates.
Cons: Distrusted by progressive true-believers. Would likely draw a leftist challenger which could disrupt party harmony.
Odds: 25 to 1. It’s hard to see what advantage Newsom could gain by appointing Cárdenas.

Kevin De León
Pros: Latino from Los Angeles. Committed leftist popular with staunch progressives.
Cons: Enough of an ideologue that he might make rich progressives uncomfortable and thus be vulnerable to losing the seat in 2022. Even a vigorous primary challenge could weaken the candidates for the general election.
Odds: 12 to 1. The potential reelection problem has to give Newsom pause, especially since the governor will be on the same ballot as the party’s Senate nominee.

Eric Garcetti
Pros: Partly Latino (Mexican on his father’s side, Russian Jew on his mom’s) from Los Angeles. Graduated from Columbia then was a Rhodes Scholar at Cambridge, making him admired by the intelligentsia.
Cons: Los Angeles is a mess, and has been so for most of his mayoralty. Would not do much to help the perception that the Democrats have become a party of elitists. Progressives would see him as too tied-in with moneyed interests.
Odds: 8 to 1. Fairly decent, though in an election Garcetti would have to answer for all the problems that continue to beset the City of Angels.

Alex Padilla
Pros: Latino from Los Angeles. MIT graduate (disclosure: Padilla was a student in a summer program for which I was a tutor, though I didn’t directly tutor him and don’t really recall him all that well). Has already run and won office statewide (twice). Long considered an up-and-comer, and supposedly close buddies with Newsom.
Cons: Has overseen his fair share of controversy during his tenure as Secretary of State, and is unfortunately developing the reputation for being a old-time party hack.
Odds: 12 to 1. A whole hell of a lot worse than they were eighteen months ago.

Linda Sanchez
Pros: Latina from Orange County. Staunch progressive (far more than her sister Loretta with whom she served in Congress) with the full check-list of Democrat beliefs and priorities.
Cons: Not as well-known as her sister. No substantive legislative accomplishments in her 18 years in Congress despite a great deal of grandstanding. Not telegenic or particularly interesting.
Odds: 10 to 1. She sure checks all of the boxes, but she’s far from the best choice among women or even Latinas for that matter. Still, she may be the safest choice.

Norma Torres
Pros: Latina from eastern Los Angeles-western San Bernadino. Immigrant from Guatemala. Strong with organized labor as a former union organizer herself. Spent 30 months as mayor of Pomona.
Cons: Not much of a record as a three-term Congresswoman. Like her colleague and neighbor Congressman Cárdenas, probably not enough of a self-promoter to attract attention.
Odds: 25 to 1. Being a woman definitely helps, though she’s probably too much of an enigma to take a chance on.

Juan Vargas
Pros: Latino from San Diego County. Rags-to-riches story. A relative moderate with ties to agriculture, would be a huge departure from the Boxer-Feinstein-Harris trioka.
Cons: Again, not very well-known and not much of an attention grabber. Might not be acceptable to progressives.
Odds: 25 to 1. Too much of a wild-card.

Antonio Villaraigosa
Pros: Latino from Los Angeles. Newsom could make himself look magnanimous by appointing a formal rival to the seat. Has a progressive past, but transformed himself in a pragmatist in his gubernatorial run two years ago.
Cons: Uninspiring tenure as mayor. Alienated many allies when he tacked to the center against Newsom. Not particularly thought of as bright, and noted for a short attention span.
Odds: 99 to 1. He turns 68 in January and his ship has probably sailed. Except– (see below).

The Caretaker Option
Governor Newsom might be smart to do what his fellow Dem governor Deval Patrick did when John Kerry resigned his Senate seat to become the Secretary of State. Rather than choose among a bunch of ambitious Massachusetts Democrats, thereby giving one of them the upper-hand as an incumbent office-holder to win a primary election for a full term, Patrick appointed one of his loyal staffers to keep the seat warm while Democrats who were interested in pursuing a full term could begin jockeying for the pole position. Newsom could follow in Patrick’s footsteps by appointing his pretty lieutennant governor, Eleni Kounalakis, but she is young and it wouldn’t make sense for her to accept a caretaker appointment. Perhaps Governor Hair-gel could coax Ms. Harris’s predecessor, Barbara Boxer, out of retirement to spend a couple more years aggravating everyone in the nation’s capital. Maybe Jerry Brown would like a crack at an office he unsuccessfully sought in 1982 when he lost to Pete Wilson. As mentioned above, appointing Villaraigosa would mend fences and grant the old slickster one final hurrah before heading out to pasture. Newsom could even be mischievous and appoint almost-86-year-old Willie Brown to the seat for a tender reunion with the old rapscallion’s paramour, the new President of the United States Senate. But given that this appointment is a great opportunity for Newsom to pocket a favor or earn some credit with a valuable interest group he’ll need two years from now, I don’t seem him going this route unless this develops into a complete political quagmire. I would give it 20 to 1 odds against him appointing a caretaker.

This is a lot for the governor to mull over, and I sure hope somebody sends him this blog post so that he can collect and organize his thoughts. It will be interesting to see in which direction he goes, but regardless of Newsom’s decision I sure hope the GOP can come up with a strong candidate two years from now.



Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:55 am

[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to share your own in the comments. Please remember to provide a link.

First news item

Who dat?? I no longer recognize the Republican Party, Part 412…:

A Republican candidate for Congress in Georgia posted a photo to her Facebook page on Thursday in which she brandished a large firearm and declared conservatives need to go “on the offense” against the “socialists” pictured in the post alongside her…Marjorie Taylor Greene, a believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory, is the GOP nominee in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Endorsed by President Trump, she’s likely to be elected to Congress in November. The threatening photo says “Squad’s worst nightmare” as a gun-toting Greene poses alongside images of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).


Second news item

Sending a girl out to do a president’s work:

The White House on Thursday denounced the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and suggested that the United States might retaliate if the Kremlin is to blame, but President Trump has not repudiated the attack himself, prompting criticism that he is once again being soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the poisoning “completely reprehensible” but did not address a question about whether Trump has “made his voice known to the Russian government.”

It was the strongest U.S. condemnation yet of the attack two weeks ago using what a German military lab says was a banned chemical weapon. Navalny survived and is now under treatment in Germany.

Still, Trump himself has remained almost entirely silent about the attack on the most prominent domestic critic of Putin. Trump had said nothing on the matter since last Thursday, when he told reporters the United States was looking into the then-unconfirmed reports that Navalny had been poisoned.

Don’t make me criticize Putin! Anything but that!

Asked about his view on Navalny at a White House press briefing, Trump said, “I don’t know what exactly happened. I think it’s tragic, it’s terrible, it shouldn’t happen. We haven’t had any proof yet, but we will take a look.” He went on to apparently question why Russia faces so much scrutiny while China doesn’t. “It is interesting that everyone’s always mentioning Russia… but I think probably China at this point is a nation you should be talking about much more so than Russia,” he said.”

Third news item

NPR under fire for softball interview with batshit anti-Semite, pro-looting author who said:

“[Looting] gets people what they need for free immediately, which means that they are capable of living and reproducing their lives without having to rely on jobs or a wage — which, during COVID times, is widely unreliable or, particularly in these communities, is often not available, or it comes at great risk.” And “In terms of potential crimes that people can commit against the state, [looting is] basically nonviolent. You’re mass shoplifting. Most stores are insured; it’s just hurting insurance companies on some level. It’s just money. It’s just property. It’s not actually hurting any people.”

NPR now:

National Public Radio is scrambling to do damage control this week after it promoted the views of a dangerously ignorant pro-looting activist who is also a gigantic anti-Semite.

In late August, NPR’s Code Switch department published an interview with Vicky Osterweil, author of In Defense of Looting. In the interview, Osterweil was given free rein to spout several major falsehoods, drawing little to no pushback from NPR.

“This Q&A with a provocative author did not serve NPR’s audience,” the newsgroup’s public editor, Kelly McBride, said Thursday. “On top of being wrong about recent events, the author’s characterization of the Civil Rights Movement is a distortion and oversimplification.”

She adds, “In the interview, the author made several statements in support of her hypothesis that could be easily fact-checked.”

Fourth news item

White people gentrified BLM. What, you didn’t think that would happen??

Black Lives Matter was once shunned by the white establishment. But now, it’s chic. And that’s a problem.

BLM banners fly from homes in Silver Lake. BLM posters are taped to the windows of Portland coffee shops. BLM hashtags fill users’ bios on Twitter and Tinder…

[I]n broad terms, there is a distinction between the motivations of white and Black protesters.

Historically, when Black people protest, they are responding to intolerable and immediate injustice — say, the water crisis in Flint. In contrast…white Americans tend to protest over more abstract goals — like the Occupy Wall Street protests against economic inequality or the melting of Arctic glaciers — and are driven by the “fierce urgency of the future.”

“What you’re willing to sacrifice, demand and compromise is going to be different. There is a shared sense of the problem but your immediate objective is fundamentally different.”…

AJ Lovelace. The 28-year old activist filmmaker felt the marches over the summer started off coherent and then devolved into being performative.

“It was obvious to me that people were out there to say they were out there,” “White girls would agitate the police and then cry when they responded. This isn’t how a protest works.”

White co-optation can overshadow those involved in grassroots efforts, and it creates the illusion that “everyone was part of this movement the whole time,” he said. After the dust settled in the 1970s and public opinion shifted, everyone claimed to have been a civil rights activist.

[I]f history shows one thing to be true, it’s that white attention and sympathy for Black social justice is fleeting. It wanes when cameras disappear.

Wut??? White girls co-opting protests and bringing the performative bullshit?? Say it ain’t so!

Fifth news item

Adapation is about leaning into the chaos!

Sixth news item

South Dakota tempts fate…again:

South Dakota is one of the nation’s hot spots for COVID-19 infections. That didn’t stop another large-scale event from kicking off Thursday.

The rural South Dakota State Fair, which reported an attendance of 205,000 people last year, is set to run through Labor Day with more hand-washing stations, social distancing reminders and an encouragement — but not a requirement — for attendees to wear masks. It comes on the heels of the state’s two largest events: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the The Sioux Empire Fair.

In the weeks following those events, South Dakota has emerged as a virus hotbed, according to data analysis. State and national health experts say the rise in cases is likely fueled by a combination of factors, including school reopenings, small gatherings and major events.

Seventh news item

You learn something new every day:

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit, in late May of 2020, the FBI initiated an investigation into Solomon and Teeter, two members of the “Boogaloo Bois,” and a sub-group called the “Boojahideen.” The Boogaloo Bois are a loosely- connected group of individuals who espouse violent anti-government sentiments. The term “Boogaloo” itself references a supposedly impending second civil war in the United States and is associated with violent uprisings against the government.

The witness told FBI agents that Solomon and Teeter possessed firearms and substantial quantities of ammunition and that Solomon, Teeter, and other members of the Boogaloo Bois and Boojahideen discussed committing acts of violence against police officers and other targets in furtherance of the Boojahideen’s stated goal of overthrowing the government and replacing its police forces.

Eighth news item

No one said it was perfect, but I’ll take America every single time:

America’s real triumph has been its ability to adapt and change over the course of nearly two and a half centuries. The Founding Fathers did not come down from Mount Vernon holding the Constitution on stone tablets. They realized that they were fallible, and that their successors would be too. So they created an ingenious system to be run by imperfect human beings, not by an infallible god or monarch.

When they invented the constitutional republic from whole cloth, the Founders did something unprecedented: They created checks and balances, wrote the opposition into the government, and meticulously divided its powers and responsibilities. Then they complemented the Constitution with the Bill of Rights, a document that is all the more remarkable for focusing not on what the government is obliged to do for its citizens, but on what it may not do to its citizens.

Thus was launched the greatest nation on Earth.

Ninth news item

It doesn’t mean that only 9,200 Americans have died from coronavirus infections:

A retweet by President Trump last weekend set off a storm of misinformation about coronavirus deaths and takes advantage of confusion about the concept of “comorbidity” and how death certificates are filled out.

Trump retweeted a post from a QAnon supporter that claimed, “This week the CDC quietly updated the Covid number to admit that only 6% of all the 153, 504 deaths actually died from Covid, that’s 9210 deaths. The other 94% had 2-3 other serious illnesses and the overwhelming majority were of very advanced age.”

Read the whole thing.

Tenth news item

Most powerful man in America decries cancel culture except when something about him is said that he doesn’t like. Sad!

Miscellaneous Meanderings

It’s all about the heatwave here on the left coast:

And because it’s already a hundred and hell degrees outside, here’s a deliciously romantic clip from the old classic, Roman Holiday, to up the temperature even more:

She paints the season in languid strokes of poetry:

“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.”

It’s always been the calling and goal as much as it is possible on our end:

t absolutely kills me to say this, but we’re going to have to find the humanity in one another. In our quest to find the humanity in others, I don’t think we can start with people on the extreme fringes. We’re going to have to start with someone who’s just one click away from us and build some muscle.

Have a good weekend.



Don’t Fear the Debt Ceiling

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:51 pm

To average Americans, the debt ceiling controversy sounds like this very frightening thing, in which failure to raise the debt ceiling is equivalent to a default. (Obama has done plenty to equate these two concepts in the public’s mind.)

Nonsense. If Obama defaults it will be by choice. Our tax receipts far outstrip our debt service payments:

IRS revenues for the calendar 2012 tax year will probably be around $2.3 trillion. That equates to over a five and a half times debt service coverage. So having enough money is not even close to the issue.

It’s not that we won’t have money to pay bondholders. It’s that we won’t have money to pay bondholders and maintain government at the bloated, absurd, and unsustainable levels that Barack Obama loves so much.

If we fail to reach a deal on the debt ceiling, Obama might have to make some tough choices about what parts of the government to cut. Government might shrink. (God help us all!) And he doesn’t want it to. He doesn’t want to make tough choices. He doesn’t want to make any choices. He wants to keep on keeping on.

But, although we look like the likely ones to back out of this game of chicken, Obama will have to blink first if we don’t. Because he will not — repeat not — be forced to stop paying bondholders, which would indeed ignite a global panic. If he does that, it will be by choice.

The linked article makes clear that nobody in the bond market thinks there will be a default any time soon:

If the giant bond funds like PIMCO and Blackrock which own hundreds of billions in Treasurys of all maturities were truly concerned about a cataclysmic event like a default, an orderly liquidation of portfolios would already be underway and 10 year rates would be going up and not down. Another barometer of bond market jitters is the interest rate spread between our 10 year Treasury note and the German 10 year bond referred to as the “Bund”. If the world was expecting turmoil in our treasury market then that spread would be expected to widen because investors would sell the falling Treasurys (rates go up) and buy the flight to safety instrument, in this case the Bund’s (rates go down). Over the last couple of weeks that spread has held steady, and in the last three or four sessions it has actually contracted by 6 or 7 basis points. The same exercise with the 10 year British instruments called Gilts yields similar results. A bond trader’s job is to analyze credit, and the markets are speaking loudly that right now there is ZERO worry of a U.S. government debt default.

If people in the know actually believed that Obama would fail to pay bondholders, despite taking in 5.5 times the amount of money he needs to pay the bondholders, U.S bonds would be rated “junk bond” status and giant bondholders would be dumping them. It ain’t happening because we ain’t gonna default.

Which is not to say we won’t hit the debt ceiling. It’s just to say that hitting the debt ceiling and defaulting are not the same thing.

BY THE WAY: One thing I like about the fact that this is coming along at the same time as the shutdown is the amusing way in which the White House’s talking points on the two issues collide. Here is the White House’s principal talking point on the debt ceiling:

  • All the debt ceiling does is make it possible to pay for what Congress has already authorized. If Congress doesn’t like all the money that is being spent, maybe Congress should stop spending so much.

And here is the White House’s principal talking point on the shutdown slowdown:

  • The House of Representatives must fund the entire government. That is their job. I will not fund only part of the government because Americans should not have to pick and choose. They must fund it all, end of discussion. There will be no negotiation.

No journalist will ever pick up on this rather blatant contradiction. That’s why God created bloggers.

WELL, ISN’T THAT A HOOT: No sooner do I hit publish on this post (which I thought I had published this morning!) than do I see this, which kind of muddles the message of the post a bit: Fidelity sells off short-term government debt.

Isn’t it ironic?!

The point is, this is a vote of “lack of confidence” in Obama, not in Congress. Again, he is taking in multiple times the amount of money he needs to pay this interest. If he doesn’t pay the bondholders, it’s on him.

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