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Ramsey Clark, Send No Flowers

Ramsey Clark, who never met a dictator or an anti-Semite he wouldn’t defend, has died. He lived long enough to see his image whitewashed by The Trial of the Chicago 7. Will the American viewers of that film ever know that Michael Keaton was playing a man who went on to defend Nazi war criminals and the leaders of the Rwandan genocide? Undoubtedly, they will not.

Prince Philip, RIP

There’s going to be a lot of people saying a lot of negative things about Prince Philip. That’s just the way of the world now. Myself, I think the best description of Prince Philip came from David Starkey, who compared Philip to being a real-life version of One Foot In The Grave’s Victor Meldrew. Much like Victor, you sometimes couldn’t believe that Philip had said what he said but, at the same time, you knew he usually meant no offense.

My first real memory of Prince Philip was a news story that accused him of cheating in a yacht race. From that moment on, I liked him.

Lee Zeldin Is Running For Governor

Lee Zeldin has tossed his hat into the ring to run for governor of New York. He says his platform will be that New York can’t afford any more of Cuomo. Personally, I think he’s right. I also find it interesting that he’s apparently assuming that Cuomo is going to be the Democratic nominee.

If Cuomo is the nominee, I think he’d still have a fair shot of winning because that’s the way New York is. New York is bluer than it’s ever been. It probably doesn’t help that the GOP use it and California in much the same way that the Democrats used Texas and Florida. When you continually tell a state that you think it represents everything bad about America, you can’t be surprised when your candidates struggle there.

Still, Cuomo would definitely be at his weakest and I get the feeling a lot of Democrats would prefer to see him step aside in 2022. What if Cuomo refuses to retire, though? Do the Democrats bite the bullet and renominate him? Do they try to impeach him? My guess is that they would try to beat him in a primary but that’s always a difficult thing to do with an incumbent and it would mean that a Democrat would have to step up and say that everyone in the party was wrong when they spent 2020 saying that Cuomo was the best governor in the country. And what if multiple serious candidates run against Cuomo and make it onto the primary ballot? What if Bill De Blasio somehow sneaks away with the nomination? (That’s a result that certainly would make Republicans happy.)

Personally, I’m hoping the best for Lee Zeldin but he’s got an uphill climb in front of him.

History Repeats Itself

From the Washington Post:

EXCLUSIVE: Biden’s DHS may restart border wall construction to plug ‘gaps’

No word yet on whether or not Biden’s going to make Mexico pay for it. It would really be something for the history books if, after everything that happened between 2017 and 2021, Joe Biden was the one who ended up building Trump’s wall.

Wayne Messam’s Opportunity?

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida has died. He was 84.

Out of respect for the dead, I’m going to refrain from criticizing Hastings’s political career. Regardless of whatever else you may hear about him, his constituents apparently loved him and he looked after them and that is, after all, what a member of the House is supposed to do.

I was one of the few people to follow the 2020 presidential campaign of Miramar, Florida mayor Wayne Messam. Messam didn’t get much respect from the national press, despite the fact that Miramar was bigger than Pete Buttigieg’s South Bend. I think the only time that he made national news was when it was revealed that his campaign had apparently only raised $5 during one of the reporting periods. Messam dropped out before the Democratic primaries.

At the time, there was some speculation that Messam’s main motive for running was to increase his profile so that he could run for Alcee Hastings’s seat whenever Hastings retired or died. I guess we’ll find out if that’s the case now. Hastings’s seat will be filled by a special election. Given that it’s probably a lifetime seat, the field will be crowded. Will Messam run? I kind of hope he does, just to increase the number of former presidential candidates currently serving in the House of Representatives.

According to RRH Election, another possible candidate is Gregory Tony, the sheriff of Broward County. Tony is a controversial figure but at least he kept the truly loathsome Scott Israel from reclaiming the sheriff’s office in 2020.

Who Trusts The Media?

This is is from FiveThirtyEight and it reveals what everyone already knew. Republicans don’t trust the media at all. Democrats do trust the media, though I think that number will go down as the Biden administration continues to stumble forward. The truly interesting number is that only 36% of independents have a “great deal” or “fair amount of trust” in the media.

The media, of course, has no one to blame for this but themselves. Even as I sit here writing this, 60 Minutes is getting called out for deceptively editing a story about the vaccine rollout in Florida. At a press conference, the reporter from 60 Minutes more or less accused DeSantis of giving Publix preferential treatment because Publix donated to his campaign. (Publix is one of the biggest stores in Florida and, like most corporations, it donated to both Republicans and Democrats in 2018.)

Below is transcript of the conversation. Everything in bold was edited out when the story aired on 60 Minutes last night:

It’s hard not to get the feeling that DeSantis is being targeted because he’s currently the prohibitive favorite to receive the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and also because much of the media seems to be determined to prove that red states like Florida and Texas have screwed up their handling of the pandemic just as much as Andrew Cuomo did in New York. That’s not the type of behavior that’s going to restore trust in the media.

The truth is that we need to be able to have faith in our media. One reason why this pandemic has been so much harder on people than many of the other crises this country has been through is because no one knows who to trust. Both the media and the government have proven themselves far too quick to lie to promote a narrative and protect their own power. As a result, the people have no one to whom they can look without skepticism. The people feel like no one is on their side and that leaves them open to being manipulated by every demagogue with a national platform.

America has been on a dangerous path for a while. I’m not sure how much longer we can continue to walk down it.

My Congressman Is Less Productive Than AOC

There were a flurry of news stories today about a study that determined that, from a legislative point of view, AOC was one of the least effective members of Congress. She was ranked 230th out of 240 Democrats, having introduced 12 pieces of “substantive legislation,” none of which made it out of committee or became law.

Personally, I’m more concerned about the fact that my Congressman, Colin Allred, is ranked 231st. AOC, at the very least, can make the argument that she’s an effective advocate for her positions and that she’s laying the groundwork for a movement. What the Hell has Colin Allred been doing for the past two years?

Even if he’s not productive, Colin Allred will probably have a seat in Congress for as long as he wants it. With redistricting approaching and Texas set to gain a lot of seats, it seems likely that my district will be split apart, with the end result being that Allred gets a safe blue district and new, light red district is created for someone like Genevieve Collins. After Allred beat Pete Sessions by a larger than expected margin in 2018, there were some talk of Allred eventually running statewide but that talk died down, especially after he underperformed in 2020.

If Allred somehow doesn’t end up with a safe blue district, I can imagine that “less productive than AOC” will make it into a few campaign ads next year.