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« Ghost sign | Main | And the Award for Best Performance as President of the United States goes to...: Donald Trump at the Oscars. Scene 4. »


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Deborah Testa

Mercy/malice. Good use of alliteration.

Cathie from Canada

Yes I saw Joe Kennedy on an MSNBC show last night and I wondered - is this the Second Coming? Because he does look so much like Jack and Robert, and sound like them too. Maybe... maybe it could be true.
The Democrats will need a charismatic and/or young candidate in 2020, if they hope to win the presidential election against Trump and his Gang. Maybe Joe could be the one.

El Jefe


He's coming along but it's a decade too soon. He's an important part of the Thirties arsenal when he'll really be hitting his stride and hopefully either governor of the Commonwealth (God save it! as Pierce says) or in the Senate. He does have the "Honey Fitz" touch that Teddy had in his prime mixed with Bobby's moral earnestness (the Jesuits really missed a trick with Robert, he rather than Francesco could have been their first Pope.) Myself I'm a Warren/(Sherrod) Brown man for 2020, for ideology and regional balance (they're the ticket that can reclaim enough folks in the barely-Trump swath of the Midwest to bring along with the pro-our side backlash elsewhere.) But both of them will be old by the end of it, even Brown's going to be sixty-four in 2020 and so like Biden on the edge of being aged out if Warren did two terms. My picks for right after them are either (or both! Dream team ticket!) Kamala Harris and Seth Moulton, the latter of whom I would love to see take the Senator Professor's seat once she's picked out her furniture for the West Wing. Joe's in the batch after them -- I like to plan ahead :) (PS I'd have Villaraigosa in the mix too, moderate though he is I hope he beats Newsom like a rented mule in the CA gubernatorial primaries, if he weren't also aging out for the Twenties like Warren and Brown.) We do actually have good talent -- and I haven't even mentioned Lance's favorite senator :) -- lined up, we just need to not have any circular firing squads especially next year. The Republicans' problem is actually that all of their "next people" are very actively involved in running their majority into the ground right at the moment. Some of them certainly have safe seats for the near term, but national level ambitions are not going to be done any favors by this dog's breakfast of a Hundred Days.


I worked for the City of Los Angeles for 33 years, retiring three years ago. Villarogosa was the Mayor for my last eight years of service and I can state with conviction that he is an empty suit. As far as I could tell, his only genuine concern was the ever greater inflation of his own political balloon. You need to trust me on this one - he is a big load of nothing.

Lance Mannion

Cathie, Kennedy's only 36 so he's got plenty of time and as El Jefe points out he probably has his eye on a Senate seat or the governor's mansion in the near future.

Y'know, I don't know if Massachusetts has a governor's mansion. I don't remember ever seeing one. James Michael Curley lived in a mansion---with shamrock cutouts in the shutters---but it was his own house, although it's thought the people of the Commonwealth helped pay for it. But I had the impression that the character who was governor when I lived in Boston---a one-term blockheaded embarrassment named Ed King. He was bracketed by Michael Dukakis.---lived in his own house too. And wasn't that an unnecessary side trip down memory lane?

El Jefe, keep in mind Warren will be 71 come 2020. I'm not sure the Party's going to be wild about running another old white lady. HRC got a pass on that because she's HRC. Warren might get a pass for being Warren but the fact she is the Bernie crowd's choice---second choice. A lot of them still think Bernie himself should run.---is not going to help her with the Democratic base, which is not old and white. And the base is definitely not going to see a Warren -Brown ticket as balanced in any way.

Brown himself will be 68, btw.

Anyway, right now 2020 is beside the point. We need House and Senate seats in 2018.

El Jefe


With you on the Senate/governorship first (if he's got that particular knack passed down from "Honey Fitz" through Teddy I'd actually advise the latter, he'd have the state in the palm of his hand and get some executive experience on his resume which is usually useful -- folks like Obama are very much the exception to the rule on that.) He's got plenty of time to broaden and deepen himself, which is why I'm in favor of party elders heading for the national executive in the near term (it's why I had no qualms about the age of either Clinton or Sanders last year) while we get more of Da Yoof (as British slang puts it) into governors' mansions or the Senate. If the GOP keep on their present path and Perez has the institutional perspective I think he has (I rooted for Ellison but I'm just fine with Perez, he has a good practical track record) then I'm not so worried about getting House and Senate seats in 2018, I think with nose to the grindstone they will come especially, I think, if Ryan's bill fails and they come back with something even more harsh to satisfy the Freedom Caucus. The problem is managing Trump's decline during his second caucus and managing the waves of domestic terrorism that will afflict the Twenties if (and really, probably when) a Dem wins in 2020 and the real feral Trumpist dead-enders feel like they have nowhere to go within the system while at the same time they own the largest private arsenals of firearms in the country. Historically people tend to fear disaster up front when it actually arrives later (think of the fears of the Blitz, horrific as it turned out to be, measured against the realities of the firebombing of Tokyo or Hiroshima/Nagasaki, the concerns about Nixon on domestic legislation versus the realities of Reagan and Dubya. It usually takes time for things to get bad.)

I'll leave aside the Escher drawing that is your opinion of Warren over the last few years (all however governed reliably by whether it seemed she was making nice with the Clintons or not, but still) but it's not a great look to cast aspersions on a fit woman's age when she might run for office when you just spent the last year singing the praises of a 69 year old on the grounds it made you a feminist ally. Just a thought. But as a more practical matter you raised the question of "balance" on a ticket, which in this case you quite correctly meant as having nothing to do with age or geography and everything to do with ideology. I think that's mostly spot-on and a better description of functional balance on a presidential ticket than what the pundits usually come up with. In the last eighty years, as I've looked back over it, there have been six profoundly "unbalanced" Democratic tickets in that regard. One, McGovern/Shriver, well we know what happened with that. But the other five -- Roosevelt/Wallace, Roosevelt/Truman (which was unbalanced in all the best ways and a bitter disappointment to the Conservative Coalition's hopes for the "senator from Prendergast"), Johnson/Humphrey, and the two Clinton/Gore tickets (which prove it's not just the party's left that unbalances; Clinton/Gore '92 in particular was a dream-team breakthrough for the DLC much faster than they'd hoped) -- what did they do? Just rack up the biggest Electoral College margins of victory of any Democratic tickets in those eighty years. Only one even moderately "balanced" ticket (and that mostly as a matter of culture, mainly of age and race), Obama/Biden in 2008, was in their league (and would have picked off Clinton/Gore '96 for fifth place if they'd pushed harder in Missouri rather than Montana right at the end.) Tickets that have the clarity and the strength to go all-in have tended to do the best; ones that aimed for balancing out have underperformed consistently (and we can bring up the Kennedys again in that regard, especially in terms of what we've both argued is real "balance" -- Lyndon was well to Jack's left on most issues ;) And in case that other epic defeat comes up, people have tended to forget over the years that not only was there gender and geographic difference between Mondale and Ferraro but that she was not nicknamed "Archie Bunker's congressman" just because of geography, she was well to Mondale's right on a number of things.)

And given the number of Clinton supporters in 2016 who were just as firmly against her in 2008 when she was running against Obama, who did indeed put party and reality (the reality of the Tangerine Toddler currently occupying the West Wing a couple of days a week when he's not golfing in Mar-a-Lago and letting the Republican establishment and his campaign-trail rent-a-fascists duke it out over who makes executive policy) ahead of any other considerations, I suspect the Democrats, for all our infighting not just now but since Andrew Jackson, will rally round the eventual nominee in 2020 because opposition does wonders for concentrating the mind. In the meanwhile, as you say, getting the Senate back (closer and closer to assured) and maybe even the House (they really are playing with fire and not just on health care, and the smartest thing I've seen Chuck Schumer do in many a year is advise the party to step back, keep pressing the legal issues wrt to Russia, and let them get as many self-inflicted burns as possible) will do nicely in the interim. Really I'm most concerned about the state-level races (where it's nice to see the state I grew up in, North Carolina, having a Democratic governor again and the GOP redistricting plans dashed all to hell) because they will govern what the House looks like in the Twenties. Senate for show, redistricting for dough, or something like that. Not a problem we have here in Oregon (vote-by-mail does wonders for off-year turnout and thereby for Democrats) but it's the fundamental structural question for the party, getting back into power in the states. And the GOP effing up basics like health care and day-to-day administration of the country does wonders to help.

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