Friday, August 14, 2015

Last Call For Ground Chuck

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall makes the case that Sen. Chuck Schumer's opposition to President Obama's Iran nuclear deal disqualifies him as successor to Sen. Harry Reid as leader of the Democrats in the upper chamber.

I say all this with some regret since I’ve always liked Schumer. And I should make clear that I see fidelity to a President of one’s own party - even on an issue central to his presidency - as a non-issue in this case. The issue is that this agreement is a matter of grave importance. And Schumer’s position is wrong. Indeed, what makes it an issue for me is that it is more than wrong. His stated arguments are simply nonsensical and obviously tendentious. In this case, Schumer’s ample brain power stands as an indictment against him. There are plenty of senators who are voting against this deal because of a combination of bellicosity and partisan fervor. And there are a good number of them who either cannot or do not care to apply a real logical analysis of the question at hand. Let’s put that more bluntly, they’re either lazy or dumb. And of course this general point applies to senators on both sides of the aisle. 
But Schumer is neither lazy nor dumb. And that’s why his decision is really unforgivable. 
He argues for instance that even if even if the agreement keeps Iran from building nuclear warheads for a decade (false time frame, by the way), this deal makes things worse because the nuclear Iran ten years from now will be a supercharged Iran made more powerful and bold by sanctions relief. 
This is a stupid argument. 
North Korea remains under strangling sanctions and barely has an economy at all. That has not prevented it from building a robust nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. Especially if you believe that Iran wants nuclear weapon for doomsday purposes, getting nuclear weapons with a more vibrant economy 10 years from now hardly makes a difference. And, yes, as long as we’re on the point, the ten year time frame is bogus. 
Schumer also calls the 24 days canard “troubling”. Again, here Schumer’s own smarts indicts him. He’s not that dumb. We shouldn’t accept Fox News arguments as legitimate points of argument from someone who aspires to be Senate Majority Leader
Finally he notes that the deal only makes sense if you believe that Iran will become more moderate and less belligerent under the deal. Again, a bad faith argument. 
I think there are actually good reasons to think the consequences of the deal may lead to that outcome. To at least grant that this is a possibility one need only look at the fact that the Iranian reformers we allegedly love are all for it and the hardliners in the regime are all against it. But the deal is actually more important if you have the most dire read of the regime and its future. If you do think the worst, is it better to put in place what is unquestionably the most rigorous inspections and surveillance regime ever devised or leave the Iranians entirely free to start building nuclear weapons immediately? The answer to this question is so blindingly obvious it really ends the debate.

Marshall continues shredding Schumer's arguments al length in the second half of his piece, but that last sentence is the heart of the argument.  If Schumer is going to be this blatant about putting his own neck ahead of the fate of his party, then he does not deserve to be a leader in his party.

So no, I don't believe that Chuck Schumer should be the leader of the Dems after Harry Reid retires. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin immediately comes to mind as someone who should get the job (if Barb Mikulski wasn't retiring after 30 years.) But as Marshall says, Schumer has disqualified himself totally at this point.

If he will do this to save his neck now, when he is leader, he will sell out the country to benefit himself.  Senate Dems should take note.

Rated G For Gore

It's one thing for the sitting vice president to throw out a trial balloon and consider running for the Oval Office.  But for the guy that lost (and won, and then lost for winning) 15 years ago, the notion that Al Gore has any shot is just ridiculous.

Supporters of Al Gore have begun a round of conversations among themselves and with the former vice president about his running for president in 2016, the latest sign that top Democrats have serious doubts that Hillary Clinton is a sure thing.

Gore, 67, won the popular vote in the 2000 election and has been mentioned as a possible candidate in every contested Democratic primary since then. He instead spent much of the 2000s focused on environmental campaigning and business ventures. He has largely slipped out of public view in more recent years.

But in recent days, “they’re getting the old gang together,” a senior Democrat told BuzzFeed News.

“They’re figuring out if there’s a path financially and politically,” the Democrat said. “It feels more real than it has in the past months.”

The senior Democrat and other sources cautioned not to overstate Gore’s interest. He has not made any formal or informal moves toward running, or even met with his political advisers about a potential run.

A member of Gore’s inner circle asked to be quoted “pouring lukewarm water” — not, note, cold water — on the chatter.


No, no, no, no, no.  If you wanted to portray the Democrats as a bunch of bed-wetting losers with no confidence in Hillary, Bernie or even Joe Biden, then "Al Gore 2016?" stories are the perfect vehicle.  Even if this is 100% fabricated, it still makes the Democrats look like they're in full panic mode, without a viable candidate at all except for the guy that lost in 2000 to the Supreme Court. If it's a media play to bait Gore, he needs to be smart enough not to fall for it.

Granted, there would be some measure of revenge versus Jeb, but it's hard to portray yourself as the party that cares about America's future when you're literally fighting the same battles of 15 years ago.

This is a horrible idea, and while I respect Al Gore as a statesman and climate change activist, he had his chance at the Oval Office and blew it.  Gore would alienate the Hillary voters, the Bernie voters, and the Draft Biden folks to boot.  Yes, Democrats needs a wide-ranging discussion on issues and the future of the party.  No, Al Gore is not the future of the party.


Chris-ed Off At The World

Things aren't going so well for NJ GOP Gov. Chris Christie's presidential run.  Turns out things are a lot worse for him back home in Trenton.

A majority of New Jersey’s registered voters said Gov. Chris Christie (R) should resign from his post as he ramps up his presidential campaign, according to a poll released Thursday.

Fifty-four percent of voters want Christie to step down while 41 percent said he should continue to run New Jersey as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination, according to the poll from Rutgers-Eagleton. 
But when voters were told about efforts by the Democratic legislature to oust the governor, 45 percent said Christie should be "forced" to resign whereas 52 percent said he should remain in his post. 
This comes after Wednesday’s poll from Rutgers-Eagleton that said more than half of New jersey residents would describe Christie as “arrogant” and would not describe him as “presidential.”


Old enough to remember when Chris Christie was actually relevant to national GOP politics.

Now he'll be lucky to keep the job he has.  Even that 45% of New Jersey voters that agree with the Democratic state legislature that Christie should step down is an awfully high number for an extremely unpopular governor.

Good luck with those last couple of years in your job, Chris.  You're going to need it.


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