It’s A Struggle

It’s a struggle writing about politics when every single political story leaves you feeling worried for the future of the country.  That’s especially true when it comes to the stories about the upcoming Trump indictment.

I don’t have much more to say about any of this, other than I don’t think there’s a hero to be found anywhere in this situation, not in the DA’s office and certainly not in the Trump campaign.  The case against Trump is obviously a partisan prosecution, with the idea being to keep Trump in the news for as long as possible because as long as people are paying attention to Trump, they won’t be paying attention to Biden.  At the same time, if you don’t want to run the risk of having stuff like this happen to you, don’t cheat on your wife and then use campaign funds to pay off a porn star.  It’s not that difficult.

I’m frustrated with the lot of them and quite frankly tired of the whole thing.

Is Andrew Cuomo Running For The Senate?

Is Andrew Cuomo running for the Senate?

Kirsten Gillibrand is apparently telling donors that Cuomo, who still has 9 million dollars in his political war chest, is planning on challenging her in the Democratic primary.

Personally, I doubt Cuomo’s running.  Andrew Cuomo loved being governor and it’s obvious that he would someday want to be governor again.  Cuomo wants to be an executive, not a legislator.  Cuomo is far more likely to try to succeed Hochul than to run for the Senate.  When you’re a Cuomo, even winning any office other than governor of New York is seen as a demotion.

It’s more likely Gillibrand is using Cuomo as a boogeyman to help boost her anemic fundraising.  She is going to get a challenge in the primary and, considering how unpopular she’s been with her own party lately, she should be worried about it.  But that challenge probably won’t come from Cuomo.  Saying that Cuomo’s coming after her will probably help her raise more money than saying that Mondaire Jones is coming after her.

Of course, there are a lot of Republicans who would love to see Lee Zeldin square off against Andrew Cuomo in the Senate race.  That’s probably the only scenario in which New York sends a Republican to the Senate.

Twilight of the Kennedys

Robert F. Kennedy Jr ‘thinking about’ launching Democratic challenge to Biden for 2024 White House nomination

That RFK, Jr. has presidential ambitions has never exactly been a secret.  Right now, he’s best-known for being an outspoken opponent of vaccines but people forget that, before he embraced that particular cause, he was one of the most strident environmentalists in the country.  He was promoting the Green New Deal long before AOC ever made her way to Congress.  Before he was encouraging parents to leave their children vulnerable to deadly diseases, RFK, Jr. was arguing the the CEOs of companies that pollute should be tried as war criminals.

Before even that, a young RFK Jr. was a member of the Manhattan DA’s office.  Like his brother David, RFK Jr. developed an addiction to heroin.  David would die of an overdose.  RFK Jr. was merely arrested and spent two years on probation.  If not for his name, RFK Jr. would probably just be another unknown activist with a difficult personal history.

But RFK Jr. does have the name and, as a result, he is treated as serious person despite his history of spreading conspiracy theories.   And now, RFK Jr. appears to be poised to be the latest Kennedy to enter a presidential race.  In some ways, it would be a case of history repeating itself.  The last time a Democrat as incompetent as Joe Biden ran for reelection, he was challenged by a Kennedy.  Ted Kennedy won at least a few primaries against Jimmy Carter.  I doubt RFK Jr. will be able to make that claim.

But I have no doubt that he will try and it will be interesting to see where his votes come from.  Will RFK, Jr. be the candidate of the Green New Deal or the candidate of vaccine skepticism?

Larry Hogan is Not Running For President

Larry Hogan, the former governor of Maryland, made it official yesterday.  He will not be running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Like a lot of former Marylanders, I’m breathing a sigh of relief.  It’s not that I felt Larry Hogan had any chance of winning.  And it’s not that I don’t feel that Hogan did about as good of a job as any Republican could possibly do in a state that is as blue as Maryland.  Hogan was a good governor and he’d probably be a good Cabinet secretary in either a Republican or a Democratic administration.  Personally, I’d rather see him in charge of the Transportation Department than Mayor Pete.

What I was dreading was watching Hogan ruin his legacy by running an obviously doomed and ego-driven presidential campaign.  There was absolutely no path for Hogan in 2024, regardless of how much the Washington-based punditry claimed otherwise.  There was a chance that Hogan would have served to split the anti-Trump vote though it seems more probable Hogan would have been humiliated in much the same way that former governors like George Pataki and Jim Gilmore were humiliated in 2016.  No one wants to end their political career as an asterisk in a poll.

Hogan should have run for the Senate in 2022.  If Ben Cardin retires in 2024, Hogan will undoubtedly be courted by the NRSC but I doubt Hogan will take the plunge.  Just as some politicians are born legislators, Hogan was a born administrator.

Hogan served two terms in a state this usually hostile to Republicans.  He ended his term as one of the most popular governors in Maryland’s history.  That’s not a bad record to go out on.

Speaker McCarthy

It took 15 ballots but Kevin McCarthy is now Speaker of the House.  For all the ridicule and hand-wringing of the past week, this is actually the way that the House is supposed to work.  No one is supposed to be guaranteed a victory and the Speaker is not meant to be a benign dictator whose every whim is law.

If all of this drama leads us away from the concept of the Imperial Speakership, it’ll be worth it.

Stabenow Retires

I don’t think anyone was expecting Debbie Stabenow to announce that she wouldn’t be running for reelection this week but here we are.

Because Trump won the state in 2016, there’s a misconception that Michigan is more of a swing state than it is.  Michigan is a blue state.  Hillary lost Michigan because of her own hubris and ineptness as a candidate but, as the 2022 midterms showed, winning statewide in Michigan is still going to be an uphill climb for most Republicans.

When Stabenow made her announcement, there was some online chatter about Rashida Tlaib running for the seat.  Tlaib trying to run for higher office and losing the primary is probably the only way that she’s ever going to leave Congress but I haven’t seen any signs that she’s planning on running.  It feels like Elissa Slotkin’s race to lose.

Hopefully, John James will resist the calls to make another statewide run.  He can do a lot more by staying in the U.S. House than by running yet another underdog statewide campaign.


President John Bolton?

It will probably never happen but it does sound like John Bolton is determined to run against Trump in the 2024 primaries.  I think he’d be better off just supporting a candidate who actually has a chance to defeat Trump but I think, in Bolton’s case, his opposition to Trump is more personal than political.  Bolton took a job with Trump, at a time when many other establishment types were going out of their way to disassociate themselves from the President.  Trump responded by telling everyone that Bolton’s advice was worthless.  Much like Al Haig in 1988, Bolton’s campaign will be about trying to win back the respect that he feels was stolen from him.

A New Speaker?

I assume Kevin McCarthy will eventually get enough votes to become Speaker today but anything’s possible.  The fact that there’s even a question about who will become Speaker is why so many members of the party now consider their governors to be the true leaders of the GOP.

For what it’s worth, Justin Amash has offered himself as a non-partisan Speaker.  In theory, I like the idea of having a non-partisan speaker but I know  that, in practice, it’s not the sort of thing that would ever work in today’s Washington.  And, even if it could work, Justin Amash isn’t the one who is going to make it happen.

A Frustrating Few Weeks

If you’re like me and you follow politics and you think a second Joe Biden term would be disastrous for the country, the past few weeks have been frustrating.

Among my problems with the Democrats, two of the big ones were that 1) the Democrats have consistently refused to strongly call out anti-Semitism in their own ranks and 2) the Democrats have no problem shredding the Constitution to get what they want.

So, of course, Donald Trump goes off and has dinner with two of America’s best-known anti-Semites (yes, Milo was there as well but I’m not sure anyone who isn’t very online has the slightest idea who Milo is) and then he demands that the Constitution be shredded so that he can be president again.  Thanks, Don!

(For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think Trump is himself an anti-Semite.  I just think he’s a man in his mid-70s who isn’t really in touch with modern pop culture and who can’t let go of a grudge and who will have dinner with anyone who sucks up to him.)

Myself, I’ll be voting for DeSantis.  Or Kemp.  Or Youngkin.  Or even Larry Hogan!  (I like Larry Hogan more than most Republicans and I think he was effective as any Republican governor could be in a state as blue as Maryland.  But I know there’s no way a Hogan presidential campaign would get beyond New Hampshire.)  In 2024, vote for a governor.

The Initial Midterm Lessons For The GOP

It’s time to stop letting Trump pick our candidates.  Voters may not be in love with the Democrats but that doesn’t mean that they’ve changed their opinion on Trump.

This is not the night I was hoping for but that’s politics.  Polls show that voters are not happy with Biden but, at the same time, it’s obvious from tonight that they’re not ready to embrace Trumpian candidates with a history of election denialism.

Another lesson, and this is one that I am going to hold myself to: Don’t allow yourself to get trapped in a bubble when it comes to following politics.  The GOP is probably going to win the House.  They might win the Senate.  I would probably be happy with these results if I hadn’t spent months only hearing news about how this was going to be a wave election.

DeSantis is the big winner tonight.

Tomorrow is Lisa’s birthday.  We’re heading to Lake Texoma on Thursday.  I’m taking a break from politics and focusing on what’s important.