Sunday, November 8, 2020

Last Call For Winter, Spring, Summer Or Fall

So, whatever you were imagining for the story behind how Rudy Giuliani and Trump's "crack legal team" ended up giving a press conference yesterday at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia rather than the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, I guarantee you it's not as utterly bonkers as the truth
It started Saturday morning, with a presidential tweet that, as has often happened during the past four years, Trump’s advisers quickly scrambled to correct.

Trump announced: “Lawyers News Conference Four Seasons, Philadelphia, 11 a.m.,” only to delete his post minutes later and replace it with one changing the venue from the upscale Center City hotel to a similarly named business: Four Seasons Total Landscaping on industrial State Road, next to Fantasy Island Adult Books and Novelties and across the street from the Delaware Valley Cremation Center.

“To clarify, President Trump’s news conference will NOT be held at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia,” the hotel’s management tweeted out minutes later. “It will be held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping — no relation with the hotel.”

But by then, many on social media were already delighting in a booking they assumed must have been a mistake.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Giuliani and Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski had always intended the news conference to take place in a section of Philadelphia where they might receive a more welcome reception than at the raucous celebrations of Biden’s victory going on in Center City. It was the president, the paper reported, who had misunderstood.

As for why Four Seasons Total Landscaping? Giuliani offered no explanation Saturday and made no mention of the company or its owner, Marie Siravo, during his remarks. Tom Matkowski, GOP ward leader for the neighborhood, said the news conference hadn’t been coordinated with the local Republican Party and that he didn’t believe the Siravo family was active in local party politics.

The phone at Four Seasons went unanswered throughout the day, and Siravo did not return calls for comment.

Her social media posts indicate she and some of her family members were vocal, but not necessarily unshakable, Trump supporters.

“We don’t need to invite him for dinner,” Siravo posted in August, in response to a “Conservative Hangout” Facebook page that listed Trump’s accomplishments in office. “We just need him to fix our country & all the democratic mess.” She added that she had been “raised a Democrat.”

In a Facebook post, the Four Seasons team described itself as a “family-owned small business run by lifelong Philadelphians” that would have “proudly hosted any presidential candidate’s campaign.”

“We strongly believe in America and in democracy,” the message read. It promised it would have merch ready to sell by next week. 
Rather than admit a staffer booked the wrong venue, or that Trump booked the wrong venue, everybody went with the Emperor Has No Clothes and just ran with it.

They never had a plan for anything, and they nearly destroyed the country.

They still might.

Passing By On Your Left

NY Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes it very clear to NY Times reporter Astead Herndon that she believes centrists are useless sitting ducks, and that if all Democrats ran like she did in her D+25 district, we'd have the public option by now.
But...she's not wrong about the DCCC and the DSCC and even the DNC itself being utterly incompetent when it comes to winning races, either.

For months, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been a good soldier for the Democratic Party and Joseph R. Biden Jr. as he sought to defeat President Trump.

But on Saturday, in a nearly hourlong interview shortly after President-elect Biden was declared the winner, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez made clear the divisions within the party that animated the primary still exist. And she dismissed recent criticisms from some Democratic House members who have blamed the party’s left for costing them important seats. Some of the members who lost, she said, had made themselves “sitting ducks.”

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

We finally have a fuller understanding of the results. What’s your macro takeaway?

Well, I think the central one is that we aren’t in a free fall to hell anymore. But whether we’re going to pick ourselves up or not is the lingering question. We paused this precipitous descent. And the question is if and how we will build ourselves back up.

We know that race is a problem, and avoiding it is not going to solve any electoral issues. We have to actively disarm the potent influence of racism at the polls.

But we also learned that progressive policies do not hurt candidates. Every single candidate that co-sponsored Medicare for All in a swing district kept their seat. We also know that co-sponsoring the Green New Deal was not a sinker. Mike Levin was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, and he kept his seat.

To your first point, Democrats lost seats in an election where they were expected to gain them. Is that what you are ascribing to racism and white supremacy at the polls?

I think it’s going to be really important how the party deals with this internally, and whether the party is going to be honest about doing a real post-mortem and actually digging into why they lost. Because before we even had any data yet in a lot of these races, there was already finger-pointing that this was progressives’ fault and that this was the fault of the Movement for Black Lives.

I’ve already started looking into the actual functioning of these campaigns. And the thing is, I’ve been unseating Democrats for two years. I have been defeating D.C.C.C.-run campaigns for two years. That’s how I got to Congress. That’s how we elected Ayanna Pressley. That’s how Jamaal Bowman won. That’s how Cori Bush won. And so we know about extreme vulnerabilities in how Democrats run campaigns.

Some of this is criminal. It’s malpractice. Conor Lamb spent $2,000 on Facebook the week before the election. I don’t think anybody who is not on the internet in a real way in the Year of our Lord 2020 and loses an election can blame anyone else when you’re not even really on the internet.

And I’ve looked through a lot of these campaigns that lost, and the fact of the matter is if you’re not spending $200,000 on Facebook with fund-raising, persuasion, volunteer recruitment, get-out-the-vote the week before the election, you are not firing on all cylinders. And not a single one of these campaigns were firing on all cylinders.

Well, Conor Lamb did win. So what are you saying: Investment in digital advertising and canvassing are a greater reason moderate Democrats lost than any progressive policy?

These folks are pointing toward Republican messaging that they feel killed them, right? But why were you so vulnerable to that attack?

If you’re not door-knocking, if you’re not on the internet, if your main points of reliance are TV and mail, then you’re not running a campaign on all cylinders. I just don’t see how anyone could be making ideological claims when they didn’t run a full-fledged campaign.

Our party isn’t even online, not in a real way that exhibits competence. And so, yeah, they were vulnerable to these messages, because they weren’t even on the mediums where these messages were most potent. Sure, you can point to the message, but they were also sitting ducks. They were sitting ducks.

There’s a reason Barack Obama built an entire national campaign apparatus outside of the Democratic National Committee. And there’s a reason that when he didn’t activate or continue that, we lost House majorities. Because the party — in and of itself — does not have the core competencies, and no amount of money is going to fix that.
I don't think ripping into Dems who lost to Republicans and saying "Well you didn't run your campaign like I ran mine, and you would have won if you did" is going to make her any friends. It kinda makes people not think she's on the same side, or any side other than her own.
But I don't think she cares, either. And when it comes to "I know how to beat DCCC campaigns so take my advice" she is unequivocally right. She knows how to primary them and she knows how to exploit their weaknesses. She's beat them before and she has helped others beat them. She's not wrong about Obama creating his own stuff outside the DNC, either.
Whether that actually helps Dems beat Republicans nationally is another thing entirely.

Sunday Long Read: The Art Of What's Possible

Politico takes a look at nine areas of foreign and domestic policy that the incoming Biden Administration is planning to tackle, and how they will run into Republicans in the Senate and on the courts that will do everything they can to stop every possible policy item. 
Joe Biden wants to expand Obamacare and add a public insurance option. He plans to bring back strict carbon emissions for power plants and promises a zero-emissions economy by 2050.

He also says he’ll stop the border wall construction, raise taxes on households that make more than $400,000 a year and scale back President Donald Trump’s tariffs.

Now for the reality check: Trump’s regulatory rollbacks and legislative successes, matched up with a federal judiciary now stacked with Trump-appointed conservatives, have created an environment that could easily stymie the dreams of a sweeping progressive agenda under a Biden presidency.

The prospect of a Republican Senate is already scaling back the Biden agenda. And the onslaught of legal challenges from the Trump campaign may distract from Biden's plans.

In some cases, creating new regulations will take months, maybe years. Regulations have to go through a tedious proposal, rule-making and public comment process — and Biden can’t just press an accelerator pedal to make it go faster. And some regulations could just get knocked down in court by Trump judges.

“We have to remember that all of our actions can be challenged in court and the Trump administration has stacked all these courts with the most conservative judges,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.).

On the industry front, Biden will face massive pushback from the fossil fuels industry on much of his climate agenda — and he may be inclined to listen to their pleas, having promised places like Pennsylvania that he won’t kill fracking.

And with a tight Senate, Biden can't just bulldoze his way through legislation on tax increases, technology company crackdowns or Obamacare options.

So while progressive icons like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are already angling for prominent cabinet positions to push a progressive agenda, the reality of the incoming Biden administration is that they will have to legislate, negotiate, compromise and at times just ditch their campaign dreams in favor of a realistic approach to governing a polarized country.

To be sure, there will be some low-hanging fruit for Biden, like lifting the Pentagon’s transgender ban, rejoining the Paris climate agreement and reversing rules that stripped federal funding from Planned Parenthood.

But the first order of business will be building out a robust pandemic response that includes using the Defense Production Act to produce protective gear for health care workers, while pushing a massive economic stimulus that could top $2 trillion. The lingering question of a national mask mandate will loom large for Biden.

As Biden puts together his transition team, his West Wing apparatus and his Cabinet nominees, his closest advisers have been gaming out the various scenarios for what Washington will look like after Jan. 20. And many of his supporters are clear-eyed about the scope of the task ahead.

“Biden’s transition team as well as Biden himself are going to have to be changing tires as the car is speeding down the highway, and changing four tires at the same time,” said Robert Reich, a former Labor secretary under President Bill Clinton. “It will be extraordinarily difficult. The challenge will be huge. And to make matters worse, the country is deeply divided.”
The nine areas:
The issue remains that while there is much Biden can do on Day One of his administration, the reality is without 50 +1 in the Senate, the end of the filibuster, to which several Democratic senators have already said no to, and adding more justices to the Supreme Court, Biden's agenda is largely going absolutely nowhere.
And for something to happen, we're going to have to survive 2022, and a very good chance of losing the House completely as progressives turn on Biden for failing to deliver, and handing things back over to the GOP.

The odds of that are going to be bad.  I'm hoping that turning around COVID-19 will go a long way.
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